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Set to visit Ethiopia, Eritrea, Security Council mission says peace process at key stage

Set to visit Ethiopia, Eritrea, Security Council mission says peace process at key stage

Amb. Ole Peter Kolby
As a high-ranking delegation of the United Nations Security Council was preparing to leave on a visit to Ethiopia and Eritrea, the leader of the team said today that the Council wanted to send a clear message to the people of the two countries that the UN was committed to helping them build a lasting peace.

Speaking at a press briefing at UN Headquarters, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway said all 15 members of the Council would take part in the visit, which in itself was testimony to the importance the Council attached to the mission.

According to Ambassador Kolby, the purpose of the trip was to address the peace process between the two nations on the eve of the official border delimitation, scheduled to be delivered by the end of March by the Boundary Commission established under the 2000 Algiers Peace Agreement signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Since the signing of the Agreement, there had been considerable progress in the peace process, as the situation in the temporary security zone had remained calm. “This very moment is a key stage in the peace process between the two countries because the upcoming determination by the Boundary Commission and its implementation are favourable steps towards building a comprehensive and lasting peace,” he stressed.

While in the region, the mission will underline the international community's commitment to contribute to the completion of the peace process and will address the implementation of the Boundary Commission's decision, Ambassador Kolby added. The issue of mine clearance, in preparation of the physical demarcation of the border, would be taken up with both sides, as well as confidence building measures such as the release of all remaining prisoners of war and civilian internees.

After arriving tomorrow in Addis Ababa, the mission will spend all of Friday in meetings. On Saturday, the members are scheduled to travel to the border to participate in a ceremony on the Mereb River Bridge between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and afterwards will visit various points along the temporary security zone established by the UN.

The party will then head to Asmara, where it will hold a full day of meetings on Sunday before returning to New York on 25 February.