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Eritrea, Ethiopia Retreat in Hostile Postures

Security Council Demands Eritrea, Ethiopia Retreat from Hostile Postures

New York, Nov 23 2005 2:00PM

The Security Council today threatened actions – which could include sanctions – against Eritrea and Ethiopia if, in the case of Eritrea, it does not immediately rescind its ban on United Nations flights in its airspace, and against both parties in the recently rekindled Horn of Africa border dispute if they do not reverse their military build up.

In its unanimous resolution on the two countries, which fought a bitter war from 1998 to 2000, the Council demanded that Eritrea, without delay or preconditions, reverse its 4 October decision to ban helicopter flights of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) along with any other restrictions on their mandated operations.

It also demanded that Ethiopia accept the agreed-upon Boundary Commission's final and binding decisions concerning the demarcation of the border between the two countries, and that both parties return to their December 2004 levels of troop deployment within thirty days, refraining from threats or the use of force.

In the matter of the flight ban and the redeployments, the Council evoked Article 14 of the UN Charter when expressing its determination to consider measures for non-compliance. Measures under Article 14 can include sanctions.

Both the Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan have previously called on Eritrea to lift the ban, which has forced UNMEE to evacuate 18 of its posts in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between the two countries, and endangered peacekeepers who need to be evacuated for medical treatment.

Mr. Annan has warned that the situation could lead to another round of "devastating hostilities," and while calling for lifting the Eritrean ban, he has also urged the Council to address the underlying causes of the stalemate in the peace process between the two countries, including Ethiopia's opposition to the Boundary Commission's decisions.


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