Canada's ex-Foreign Minister Axworthy named UN envoy to Eritrea, Ethiopia

30 January 2004

Concerned about the lack of progress in arbitrating the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea according to the Algiers Agreement, United Nations Kofi Annan today appointed former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy his Special Envoy for the two Horn of Africa countries.

"The Secretary-General hopes that in carrying out this important assignment, the Special Envoy will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned," a UN spokesman said in a statement.

In a subsequent press statement, the current President of the Security Council, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, welcomed Mr. Axworthy’s appointment and voiced full support for the good offices mission aimed at facilitating implementation of the Algiers Agreement, the decision of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission, and the Council’s own resolutions and decisions.

In addition to having served in several Canadian government cabinet positions, Mr. Axworthy helped to negotiate the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines and was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize in 1997. He has been director and CEO of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia since 2001.

By signing the Algiers peace agreement of December 2000, the two governments committed themselves to renounce violence as a means of solving their problems, to use technical means to demarcate the border and, if all else failed, to accept "appropriate means of arbitration."

Earlier this month, the Security Council, discussing Ethiopia and Eritrea, supported Mr. Annan's intention to "consider additional measures to move demarcation and the peace process forward and help the parties overcome their differences, in particular through good offices."

The Council also urged the two governments to establish a broad political dialogue that would help to improve their relations.


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