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UN welcomes Eritrea's release of Ethiopian prisoners of war

UN welcomes Eritrea's release of Ethiopian prisoners of war

Mary Robinson
United Nations officials today welcomed the recent release by Eritrea of Ethiopian prisoners of war, calling it a positive step towards reinforcing the peace between the two countries.

In a statement released in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, commended Eritrea for restarting the process of releasing prisoners. She voiced hope that releases would continue and encouraged both governments to build on the momentum to address other pending issues.

"This is a positive development after the long standstill, which has characterized the process of releasing prisoners of war so far," Mrs. Robinson said. "This significant development confirms the path chosen by both Ethiopia and Eritrea towards a peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation."

On 2 August, 15 prisoners of war crossed the Mehreb River Bridge last week from Eritrea into Ethiopia, an event which was observed by the Human Rights Office of the UN Mission in both countries (UNMEE).

A spokesperson for UNMEE said the Mission was extremely pleased with the release. "UNMEE welcomes this latest release of POWs and urges both parties to comply with their obligations under the Algiers Peace Agreement and International Humanitarian Law in order to facilitate the swift release and repatriation of all those detained as a result of the conflict," Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte said in the Eritrean capital of Asmara.