First group of UN peacekeepers temporarily relocate out of Eritrea

4 March 2008 –

The first group of United Nations peacekeepers left Eritrea today, travelling by plane out of the capital, Asmara, as part of the temporary relocation of the mission personnel after the force’s operations were paralyzed when the Horn of Africa country cut off fuel supplies.

Fifty peacekeepers from the Jordanian battalion of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) are now en route to Amman, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists.

In recent weeks UNMEE personnel – including peacekeepers and military observers – have regrouped from the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) that separates Eritrea and Ethiopia, which fought a bloody border war in 2000, to Asmara.

The mission decided to temporarily move its personnel from Eritrea because the country cut off fuel supplies. Its personnel in Ethiopia are not affected.

UNMEE stressed today that the relocation is only temporary while the Security Council determines the future of the peacekeeping operation.


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