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In Eritrea, UN reports progress in regrouping of mission staff

In Eritrea, UN reports progress in regrouping of mission staff

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is making progress again in relocating some of its personnel from the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) separating the two countries to the capital, Asmara, and the port city of Assab.

“Noted progress” was made in relocating staff from 33 sites along the TSZ, the mission reported today, adding that 788 out of a total of 1,115 military personnel with UNMEE have regrouped in Asmara while 112 are now gathered in Assab.

The regrouping is taking place in preparation for the personnel’s temporary relocation to Ethiopia after Eritrean authorities cut off their fuel and food supplies, paralyzing the mission’s work on that side of the border.

The Security Council and senior UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly urged Eritrea to end its restrictions.

UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today that UNMEE continues to encounter obstructions at the Senafe checkpoint, where Eritrean soldiers have been turning back some UN convoys.

Over the past 24 hours, seven UN posts inside the TSZ have been vacated and subsequently taken over by Eritrean militia, police and army personnel.