Border tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea eases
Border tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased – UN mission
11 January 2006 – Tension on the disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased, the United Nations said today, although restrictions on the movement of UN personnel and the Eritrean ban on UN helicopters remains.
“The military situation has seen some positive developments. We have had some reduction of tension,” the Force Commander of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) told a news conference in the region today.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war between 1998 and 2000 and the two countries are now separated by the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), which earlier this month UN officials described as “tense and potentially volatile.”
“This is my assessment: that tension has been reduced. I am not saying that there are still no tensions. I am saying that the tension levels have been reduced,” said Maj. Gen. Rajender Singh, the UNMEE Force Commander.
In November, the Security Council called on both Ethiopia and Eritrea to reduce the number of troops at the border and Major-General Singh confirmed that force levels had gone down.
On Tuesday, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno said no hasty decision would be taken on the future of its operation in the Horn of Africa countries, adding that “time had to be given for diplomacy” between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Eritrea has increased its criticism of the UN for not forcing Ethiopia to accept the border delineated in 2002, awarding Badme – the town that triggered the border conflict – to Eritrea.