5 February 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11404
AFR/1654

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RELOCATE UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA, ERITREA


FROM ERITREA UNLESS ERITREAN GOVERNMENT REINSTATES FUEL SUPPLIES TOMORROW


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the critical crisis facing the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) as a result of the stoppage of diesel fuel supplies to the Mission by the Government of Eritrea since 1 December 2007.† The Secretary-General regrets that, despite the letter he addressed to President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea on 21 January seeking his urgent intervention to resolve the situation, the fuel supplies have not been reinstated and UNMEE has not received the authorization to import fuel directly.† Consequently, UNMEEís fuel stocks will be exhausted in the coming few days.† The Mission will be immobilized and rendered unable to carry out its critical functions.


The Secretary-General is especially concerned about the safety and security of UNMEE personnel, particularly those deployed in remote sites where they are dependent solely on generators for energy to power communications and to preserve food and medical supplies.† The Secretary-General has, therefore, informed the Security Council that if the fuel supplies are not reinstated by 6 February, he will be compelled to instruct UNMEE to begin relocating the Missionís personnel and equipment from Eritrea, on a temporary basis.


The Secretary-General emphasizes that the temporary relocation of the Missionís personnel is a contingency measure forced by the restrictions imposed on UNMEE by the Eritrean authorities, which are endangering the safety and security of the Missionís personnel, and is without prejudice to the any provisions of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000, including on the Temporary Security Zone.† In the meantime, the Secretary-General strongly appeals to Eritrea to cooperate fully with UNMEE, and urges Eritrea and Ethiopia to avoid any action which could undermine the cessation of hostilities between them.


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For information media • not an official record