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Sec Council Extends Ethiopia, Eritrea UN Mission

Security Council extends UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea

30 January 2008 - Expressing its deep concern over the ongoing dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Security Council voted today for a six-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission monitoring the 2000 ceasefire that ended the border war between the two countries.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council called on the two sides to "show maximum restraint and refrain from any threat or use of force against each other, avoid provocative military activities and put an end to the exchange of hostile statements."

The 15-member body also emphasized that "Eritrea and Ethiopia bear the primary responsibility for achieving a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the border dispute and normalizing their relations."

Despite a final and binding decision being handed down in 2002 by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), the Horn of Africa neighbours have been at an impasse on the demarcation of their boundary with a military build-up in the border areas by both sides.

Today's resolution called on Eritrea to withdraw all troops and heavy military equipment from the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) immediately and urged Ethiopia to decrease its military forces in areas adjacent to the TSZ.

The Council also expressed its concern over the critical fuel levels which are impeding UNMEE's work, and demanded that the Eritrean Government "resumes immediately fuel shipments to UNMEE or allows UNMEE to import fuel without restrictions."

Last week, Azouz Ennifar, the mission's acting head, told journalists after briefing the Security Council that UNMEE has not been able to obtain fresh supplies of fuel in Eritrea since the start of last December.

"These restrictions are paralyzing the mission and its movements and making the living conditions of our civilian and military staff on the ground extremely difficult," he said.

ENDS

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