Press Releases

                                                                                                                            5 May 2004

    Press Statement on Ethiopia, Eritrea by Security Council President

    NEW YORK, 4 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following is the text of a statement to the press on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea by the President of the Security Council, Munir Akram (Pakistan):

    Members of the Security Council heard a briefing from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea during informal consultations on 4 May.  The briefing covered developments since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1531 (2004).

    Members of the Council expressed their concern at the deterioration in the cooperation of Eritrea with the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). They noted with concern the continuing restrictions on the Mission’s freedom of movement, in particular in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone; the closing of the main supply route to UNMEE troops in Sector West by the Eritrean authorities; the increase in detention of UNMEE local staff which has a negative effect on the Mission’s effectiveness; and recent public allegations by a senior Eritrean government official in charge of cooperation with UNMEE, which may have a detrimental effect on the security of Mission staff.

    Members of the Council view with disappointment Ethiopia’s continued rejection of significant parts of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision, which heightens regional tension and blocks completion of UNMEE’s mandate.

    Members of the Council stressed that UNMEE was established at the invitation of both parties, standing ready to help them in the implementation of the Algiers Agreements.  They pointed out that the failure of Ethiopia to permit full demarcation to go forward, as well as the continued and increasing restrictions on the work of UNMEE, raised serious questions about long-term viability of this mission.

    Members of the Council called on Eritrea to meet the Security Council’s demand, expressed in resolution 1531 (2004), for full freedom of movement for UNMEE and the removal, with immediate effect and without preconditions, of any and all restrictions and impediments to the work of UNMEE and its staff in the discharge of their mandate.

    Members of the Council noted with deep concern the continued lack of progress in the implementation of the final and binding demarcation decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and reiterated the call on the parties to cooperate fully and promptly with the Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously.  Members of the Council reiterated their support for the efforts by the Special Envoy to engage the two parties with the objective of overcoming the current stalemate in the peace process.  They called upon both parties to explore ways of moving the demarcation process forward.

    Members of the Council expressed their intention to remain seized of the matter and requested the Secretariat to monitor the situation closely and to provide an update of the situation as necessary.

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