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Ethiopia-Eritrea: calm points to sides' resolve to move peace effort forward, UN says

Ethiopia-Eritrea: calm points to sides' resolve to move peace effort forward, UN says

The relative calm in the common border zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea is a sign that both parties are resolved to advance the peace process further, the Force Commander of UNMEE, the United Nations mission in the area, told a meeting of senior military officials from the two countries and UN peacekeepers.

Major-General Patrick Cammaert, who chaired the 9th meeting of the Military Coordination Commission in Djibouti on Sunday, congratulated the two delegations on the 16 months of "relative stability and tranquillity" in the border area - known as the Temporary Security Zone - since the signing of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities. The handful of small incidents so far was evidence of the determination of the parties to carry the peace process forward, he said.

According to a statement released today by UNMEE, the meeting was held in a "cordial and constructive" atmosphere. The Force Commander appealed to the two parties to continue to ensure that both the Ethiopian Armed Forces and Eritrean militia and police units did not patrol forward to the Zone's southern boundary, so as to minimize the possibility of "unfortunate incidents."

The Commission also discussed the Mission's monitoring mandate under the ceasefire agreement, in particular its freedom of movement and the problems it faces in observing the positions of the Eritrean Defence Forces where they are redeployed.

The participants decided that the next session of the Commission would be held on 28 November at the Mereb River Bridge that links the towns of Adi Quala in Eritrea and Rama in Ethiopia.