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Border zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea tense

Border zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains tense, UN says

Over two months after Eritrea demanded the pullout of United Nations personnel of certain nationalities, the military situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains tense, the UN mission there reported today.

As has been the case in these past months, routine troop movements have been noticed on both sides, a spokesman for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) told correspondents.

The two countries fought a bitter war between 1998 and 2000 over a border dispute which remains unresolved to this day. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a recent report to the Security Council, offered a number of options for coping with the current stalemate, ranging from redeployment to total withdrawal of UNMEE.

Eritrea's ban on UNMEE helicopters, which the Council and Secretary-General have vehemently opposed, remains in place, the spokesman said, while UNMEE patrols face restrictions on their movements in certain areas and at night.

Nonetheless, monitoring of the TSZ and adjacent areas continues and UNMEE carried out 722 ground patrols throughout its area of responsibility in the past week. In addition, peacekeepers are still providing medical help and supplies of bulk water to the local population in and around the TSZ.

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