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UN Volunteer Held By Eritrean Authorities

UN Volunteer Held By Eritrean Authorities Remains Incommunicado

New York, Sep 14 2006 6:00PM

A United Nations Volunteer arrested and detained in Eritrea more than three weeks ago remains incommunicado, despite appeals by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), the mission reported today.

The UNMEE staff member was arrested on 28 August. Since that time, Eritrean authorities have refused to provide access or to explain why they took the staffer into custody.

Following the arrest and the East African nation’s simultaneous decision to expel five UN security personnel, Mr. Annan expressed his deep concern about the “pattern of hostility at the United Nations in Eritrea.”

In recent months, authorities there have arrested some one dozen UN staffers, a number of whom were later released.

UNMEE monitors the ceasefire along the disputed border over which the Ethiopia and Eritrea 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.


Ends

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