|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS TEMPORARY RELOCATION OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA,
ERITREA BEGINS, WITH ADVANCE UNITS MOVING TO ETHIOPIAN SIDE OF BORDER
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The temporary relocation of personnel and equipment of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), from Eritrea to designated relocation sites on the Ethiopian side of the border has begun. Advance units of UNMEE started moving across the border, by road, on 11 February, while the main body started its relocation earlier today. So far, some of UNMEE's convoys have been allowed to cross the border without any obstruction, while others have been stopped and later allowed to cross or asked to turn back.
Yesterday, the Secretariat discussed with the Permanent Representative of Eritrea the arrangements for the relocation process. UNMEE is also engaging the Eritrean authorities in order to ensure that appropriate instructions are issued to the Eritrean troops in the TSZ [Temporary Security Zone] and officials at the crossing points, to facilitate the movement of our personnel and equipment.
The Secretary-General stresses the important conflict prevention role UNMEE plays in promoting regional stability. However, without the fuel needed to conduct its operations, the Mission has been effectively immobilized and rendered unable to carry out its critical functions. The Secretary-General regrets that the relocation has become necessary, despite the letter he addressed to President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea on 21 January seeking his urgent intervention to resolve the situation.
* *** *For information media • not an official record