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Ethiopia/Eritrea: Annan, OAU chief stress need to implement boundary decisions

Ethiopia/Eritrea: Annan, OAU chief stress need to implement boundary decisions

The Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) have urged Ethiopia and Eritrea to implement the decisions of a Boundary Commission, which will shortly announce its ruling on the border delimitation between the two formerly warring neighbours.

"We salute the parties' continued and consistent reaffirmation that they will accept the decision of the Boundary Commission as 'final and binding' as called for in the Algiers Peace Agreement" signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea in December 2000, UN chief Kofi Annan and OAU head Amara Essy wrote in an op-ed article published on Wednesday in the Canadian daily, The Globe and Mail. "We take this as a clear manifestation of their desire for a final settlement and yearning for lasting peace."

At the same time, the two leaders noted that the Boundary Commission's decision would mark only one step on the road to resolving the conflict. After the delimitation process - essentially a line on a map - the process of physically demarcating the border must be carried out. "In the event that delimitation results in the transfer of territory, it is our fervent hope that any movement of population and civil administration will be carried out in an orderly and peaceful fashion, assisted by and in cooperation with UNMEE [UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea]."

The UN and OAU leaders also underscored the need for international assistance in support of the efforts by Ethiopia and Eritrea to overcome their humanitarian difficulties. "We appeal to donor countries to extend maximum political and financial support to the two countries in their efforts towards socio-economic reconstruction and development."

The article stressed that a lasting resolution between Ethiopia and Eritrea would have benefits beyond the territory of the two Horn of Africa States. "The successful conclusion of the peace process on the basis of a legal settlement of the conflict will set an example for the rest of the African continent, and indeed the whole international community," they wrote.