15 December 2005
Security Council, in Presidential Statement, Agrees to Relocate Staff of UN Mission in Ethiopia, Eritrea
Council "Strongly Condemns Eritrea's Unacceptable Actions and Restrictions"; Intends to Maintain UN Military Presence in Eritrea, Pending Review of Plans
NEW YORK, 14 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon agreed to temporarily relocate military and civilian staff of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) from Eritrea to Ethiopia, doing so solely in the interest of the safety and security of UNMEE staff.
In a statement read out by Council President Emyr Jones Parry (United Kingdom), the Council strongly condemned "Eritrea's unacceptable actions and restrictions on UNMEE", and recalled its previous demand -- in resolution 1640 of 23 November -- that Eritrea reverse such restrictions and provide the Mission with the access, assistance, support and protection required for the performance of its duties.
The lack of cooperation with UNMEE by the Eritrean authorities had produced conditions on the ground which prevented the Mission from implementing its mandate satisfactorily, according to the statement. The Council intends to maintain an UNMEE military presence in Eritrea while reviewing future plans for the Mission.
Today's action followed the Council's condemnation on 7 December of Eritrea's decision to request some members of UNMEE to leave the country within 10 days, effective 6 December.
The meeting began at 5:40 p.m. and ended at 5:43 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/2005/62, reads, as follows:
"The Security Council has agreed, in consultation with the Secretary-General, to temporarily relocate military and civilian staff of the United Nations Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) from Eritrea to Ethiopia. The Security Council intends to maintain an UNMEE military presence in Eritrea during the period in which it is reviewing future plans for UNMEE.
"The Security Council has approved this decision solely in the interests of the safety and security of UNMEE staff. The lack of cooperation with UNMEE by the Eritrean authorities has produced conditions on the ground which prevent UNMEE implementing its mandate satisfactorily.
"The Security Council strongly condemns Eritrea's unacceptable actions and restrictions on UNMEE, which have drastically reduced any meaningful operational capacity for the Mission and will have, if they are sustained, implications for UNMEE's future. The Security Council recalls its demand, expressed in resolution 1640 (2005) that Eritrea reverse such restrictions and provide UNMEE with the access, assistance, support and protection required for the performance of its duties.
"In this regard, the Security Council intends, with the Secretariat, to review promptly all options for UNMEE's deployment and functions in the context of its original purpose, capacity to act effectively and the different military options available.
"The Security Council's view on the fundamental issue of implementation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's delimitation decision remains unchanged and the Council emphasizes the urgent need for progress in implementation of the EEBC's decision."
* *** *