Urging Djibouti and Eritrea to peacefully resolve a border dispute that flared into fighting in June 2008, killing at least 35 people and leaving dozens wounded, the United Nations Security Council demanded today that Eritrea pull its forces from the contested area and cooperate with diplomatic initiatives.
Through a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body welcomed Djibouti’s withdrawal to its positions before the dispute, which centres on an un-demarcated border in an area known as Doumeira, and condemned Eritrea’s refusal to follow suit.
The armed conflict erupted last year after weeks of tensions and military build-up on both sides, and a subsequent UN fact-finding mission, which was welcomed by Djibouti and blocked by Eritrea, reported that the dispute had the potential to destabilize the entire region.
In October 2008, Representatives of Djibouti and Eritrea outlined their positions to a Council meeting that also heard statements from the Council’s 15 members, in which they stressed the need for restraint and backed existing international efforts to mediate a settlement.
In today’s resolution, the Council said it deeply regretted that Eritrea continuously refused to admit the fact-finding mission or any envoy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has offered his good offices to help resolve the issue.
The Council encouraged the African Union and the Arab League to strengthen their efforts to engage both parties in diplomacy, and asked Mr. Ban to contact both organizations before reporting back on the matter within six weeks.