3 March 2006

Secretary-General Saddened by Peacekeeper's Death, Particularly Troubled Eritrea's Inadmissible Restrictions Forced Longer Medical Evacuation

NEW YORK, 2 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General was deeply saddened to learn of the death, on 1 March, of a member of the Indian contingent of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).  The peacekeeper suffered a cardiac arrest in the Temporary Security Zone and was pronounced dead after having been evacuated to Addis Ababa.

The Secretary-General extends his profound condolences to the family of the deceased and the Government of India.  The Secretary-General is particularly troubled that the death occurred in the circumstances when, because of the inadmissible restrictions imposed by Eritrea, the medical evacuation of the sick peacekeeper to a hospital required the use of a longer route.

The Secretary-General urges, in the strongest terms, the Eritrean authorities to lift without delay the arbitrary restrictions which place at risk the lives of United Nations personnel.

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