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Eritrea Decides To Expel Five UN Personnel

As Eritrea Decides To Expel 5 UN Personnel, Annan Decries ‘Pattern Of Hostility’

Following Eritrea’s decision to expel five United Nations security personnel, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today decried a “pattern of hostility” the country has demonstrated towards the world body, including its recent arrest of another staffer.

“These actions contravene Eritrea’s obligations under the UN Charter, the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, and the model status-of-forces-agreement which applies to UNMEE’s operations in the country,” Mr. Annan said in a statement released by his spokesman.

UNMEE, the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, monitors the ceasefire along the disputed border over which the East African countries fought a war from 1998-2000. Its work has been hampered by Ethiopia’s refusal to accept the border set by a Boundary Commission and restrictions imposed on the mission by Eritrea. In May, the Security Council cut the peacekeeping force’s troop levels by more than 1,000 to 2,300.

“The Secretary-General is dismayed by the Eritrean Government’s decision to expel from Eritrea five UN security personnel,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said today, adding that Mr. Annan is also concerned about the recent arrest of an UNMEE staff member and the Eritrean authorities’ refusal to provide access and explain the reasons for the arrest.

“The Secretary-General urges the Eritrean authorities to rescind their decision on the UN personnel, release the detained UNMEE staff member, and provide urgent clarification on their actions, while the UN investigates the unsubstantiated allegations,” the spokesman said.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deep concern about the pattern of hostility at the United Nations in Eritrea, and calls on the Government to end its public campaign against UNMEE, and fully cooperate with this important peacekeeping mission and other UN agencies operating in the country.”

Eritrea in recent months has arrested some one dozen UN staffers, a number of whom were since released.

ends

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