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UN Security Council Renews UN Mission In Eritrea

UN Security Council Renews UN Mission In Eritrea, Ethiopia Until End Of May

New York, May 15 2006

Anticipating a positive outcome from the next meeting of the commission demarcating the disputed boundary between Eritrea and Ethiopia later this week, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the peacekeeping UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) until the end of this month.

By a unanimous vote, the Council decided that if the parties have not fully complied with a November 2005 resolution on the border in the light of the outcome of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission meeting on Wednesday, it will “adjust the mandate and troop level” of the more than 3,000-strong UNMEE by the end of May.

The Council’s November resolution demanded that Ethiopia accept fully and without further delay the final and binding decision of the Boundary Commission and it deplored Eritrea’s continued imposition of restrictions on UNMEE’s freedom of movement.

Today’s resolution requested UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to report back within seven days on the two Governments’ compliance with the November resolution and “provide to the Council any further recommendations on adjusting UNMEE to focus on support for the demarcation process.”

Last month the Council extended UNMEE’s mandate until mid-May, warning that it would review options ranging from transforming the operation into an observer mission to withdrawing it altogether.

The binding decision of the Boundary Commission in 2002 was to award Badme – the town that triggered a bitter, two-year border war that ended in 2000 – to Eritrea, which then became increasingly critical of the UN for not forcing Ethiopia to accept that demarcation.

Eritrea subsequently banned UNMEE flights through its airspace, while restricting the mission’s patrols of the temporary security zone between the two countries.

ENDS

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