Calling on Ethiopia and Eritrea to normalize their relationship and demarcate a boundary between them along the lines recommended by an independent commission, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the area separating the two countries until mid-September.
By a resolution approved unanimously, the 15-member Council once more urged "the parties to cooperate fully and promptly with the Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously, including through the complete appointment by Ethiopia of its field liaison officers."
In a boundary dispute, the two Horn of Africa countries fought a bitter battle, reached a peace agreement in Algeria in June 2000, but have not agreed on a boundary. Their commitment to the agreement, however, has enabled the 3,344-strong UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) to maintain the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ).
The Council appealed to Ethiopia "without preconditions to start the implementation of demarcation, by taking the necessary steps to enable the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly" and called on Eritrea to accept the good offices of Secretary General Kofi Annan and cooperate with his Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Lloyd Axworthy.
It reminded both Governments that they bore the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Algiers Agreements and the decision of the Boundary Commission.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea was worsening and could affect the peace process. The Council asked UN Member States "to continue to provide prompt and generous support for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea."