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Annan recommends six-month extension for UN mission in Ethiopia, Eritrea

Annan recommends six-month extension for UN mission in Ethiopia, Eritrea

Encouraged by Eritrea’s and Ethiopia’s fundamental commitment to the peace process, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended extending the mandate of the United Nations mission in the region, known as UNMEE, for six months.

In a progress report to the Security Council on the situation in Eritrea and Ethiopia released today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan appeals to the Governments of both countries to sustain their commitments to peace. He also urges them to extend to UNMEE and the Boundary Commission all necessary cooperation for a speedy demarcation of the border.

“It is my hope that the two Governments will continue to display statesmanship during the entire process, including during the crucial phase of territorial transfers, thus securing a lasting peace between these two neighbouring nations for the great benefit of the peoples in the region,” the Secretary-General writes.

Mr. Annan also pledges the UN’s support during the border demarcation process, noting that UNMEE is determined to contribute to stability on the ground, while standing ready to meet the added responsibilities entrusted to it under a recent Council resolution that adjusted the Mission’s mandate for those tasks.

While noting that the situation in the Temporary Security Zone has remained generally calm and the armed forces of the two parties have been cooperating with UNMEE, the Secretary-General says he remains concerned about the reports of incidents and accusations of physical attacks on and abduction of local populations on either side of the southern boundary of the Zone.

Meanwhile, as progress in the peace process allows both countries to focus increasingly on reconstruction and development tasks, Mr. Annan calls on donors and interested Member States to continue to assist in these efforts.

“I am certain that the international community will also be ready to encourage and assist the parties in achieving the ultimate objective of the peace process, namely, lasting reconciliation between the two States and normalization of their bilateral relations,” he says.