ERITREA, ETHIOPIA SHOULD REFRAIN FROM ANY UNILATERAL ACTION THAT COULD DESTABILIZE SITUATION, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

6 March 2002
SC/7321

ERITREA, ETHIOPIA SHOULD REFRAIN FROM ANY UNILATERAL ACTION THAT COULD DESTABILIZE SITUATION, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

06/03/2002
Press ReleaseSC/7321

Security Council

4485th Meeting (AM)

ERITREA, ETHIOPIA SHOULD REFRAIN FROM ANY UNILATERAL ACTION

THAT COULD DESTABILIZE SITUATION, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

Council Also Hears Calls for Release of Prisoners,

Demining Activities to Facilitate Work of Boundary Commission

The Security Council's recent mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia reflected the Council’s united stand in supporting the completion of the peace process between the two neighbouring countries, the head of the mission, Ole Peter Kolby (Norway), stated in a public meeting this morning.

All 15 Council members took part in the mission from 21 to 25 February and met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea.  The two leaders agreed to work with the United Nations to move the peace process forward and announced that the decision of the Boundary Commission on the demarcation of their common border would be final and binding.

Mr. Kolby said the process must ensure that stability was maintained in all affected areas, and he urged both sides to refrain from any unilateral action that could have a destabilizing effect.  Regarding outstanding operational issues, the mission had urged both sides to comply fully with their obligations to allow the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) to move forward.

Speakers in this morning's meeting echoed the mission's call for the release of prisoners of war and detainees and highlighted the urgent need to carry out demining, in order to facilitate the Boundary Commission's work.

Ethiopia’s representative said the Council’s mission would help to move the peace process forward and contribute to resolving some outstanding issues before the Boundary Commission announced its decision.  Among those issues were the complete demilitarization of the Temporary Security Zone and high-altitude flights for UNMEE.  The Commission's decision ought to be a judicious one, devoid of any political pressures, he said.

Eritrea's representative said the Temporary Security Zone could not be established due to Ethiopia's refusal to redeploy its troops.  As a result, more than 60,000 Eritrean civilians remained stranded in makeshift camps to date, unable to return to their homes and villages.  Ethiopia had also refused to fulfil the agreement's provision for prompt demining and had failed to provide UNMEE with detailed landmine information.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Mexico, Singapore, Russian Federation, United States, China, Cameroon, Colombia, France, Ireland, Bulgaria, Syria, Guinea, United Kingdom, Mauritius, Norway, Spain (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Netherlands and Japan.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 12:32 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to discuss the report of the Council's mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea, which took place from 21 to 25 February (document S/2002/205).  All 15 members of the Council took part in the mission to address the peace process between the two neighbouring countries and to discuss with the parties the further implementation of their agreements signed in Algiers in 2000.

The delegation, headed by Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway and accompanied by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, who agreed to work with the United Nations to move the peace process forward.

The mission held meetings with the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Amara Essy, with representatives of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and troop-contributing countries, and other members of the diplomatic community, the United Nations country teams, religious leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the two capitals.  Council members also held a ceremonial crossing from one country to the other at the Mereb River Bridge and visited the Temporary Security Zone.

The report states that the Boundary Commission should be encouraged to proceed immediately upon announcement of its delimitation decision with the necessary technical arrangements to establish an aerial photo map to be used in the demarcation process.  Once the Commission has located the individual boundary pillars on the photo map, all demining required for demarcation should move forward without delay.  The Council should consider how UNMEE can play an appropriate role in the demarcation process.  Also, the Commission should be encouraged to proceed with physical demarcation on the ground immediately, as stretches of the border are declared mine-free. 

Since the signing in Algiers, Algeria, of the Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities on 18 June 2000 and the subsequent Comprehensive Peace Agreement

(12 December 2000), considerable progress has been recorded in the peace process.  The situation in the Temporary Security Zone, established by the UNMEE on 18 April 2001, has remained calm.  In accordance with the agreements, the Boundary Commission and the Claims Commission have been established, and their tasks are well under way.

Statement by Head of Mission

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway), head of the Council mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia, said its report reflected the Council’s united stand in supporting the completion of the peace process.  The mission had revealed that both parties remained committed to that goal and that they underscored their desire to work closely with the Council towards that end.  The mission had found that quick-impact projects had been particularly successful and ought to be continued.

Meetings with the leaders of both countries had highlighted the progress made to date, he said.  The mission welcomed statements by both sides that the Boundary Commission’s work would be final and binding.  The process must ensure that stability was maintained in all affected areas, and both sides should refrain from any unilateral actions that could have a destabilizing effect.  The parties must cooperate constructively with Special Representative Legwaila, he stressed.

Regarding outstanding operational issues, he said the mission had urged both sides to comply fully with their obligations to allow UNMEE to move forward.  It had also highlighted the importance of respecting international humanitarian law through the release of prisoners of war and detainees.

He said the mission had commended the integrated efforts of United Nations agencies and NGOs to alleviate the suffering of civilians.  It had also acknowledged the recent efforts of religious leaders on both sides to build mutual trust.  In the important period ahead, the Security Council, the OAU, the Friends of Eritrea and Ethiopia, facilitators, and the parties to the Algiers Peace Agreement must provide as much clarity as possible to the implementation phase of the mandate.

Statements

ROBERTA LAJOUS (Mexico) said the recent mission was evidence of the shared determination of Council members to show support for the peace process between the two countries.  The high points of the trip were the meetings held with the Ethiopian Prime Minister and the Eritrean President.  The constructive exchange strengthened the relationship between the two countries and the United Nations.  The mission was successful because it fulfilled the objective set.  Both leaders were assured that the United Nations would continue to support them in implementing the decision to be taken soon by the Boundary Commission.  She hoped both countries would keep open the channels of communication.

She appealed to the guarantors and facilitators of the Algiers Agreement to support this crucial stage of the peace process.  The international community needed to support the efforts of both countries in demining, particularly during the physical demarcation of the borders.  In that regard, she hoped contributions would be forthcoming to the trust fund for demining.  She expressed appreciation to the staff of UNMEE for their effective coordination with agencies of the United Nations system and NGOs working in both countries.  One impending task for the Council was to develop an exit strategy for UNMEE once the demarcation process was complete.  In addition to the United Nations, the OAU and subregional organizations had an important role to play. 

KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) welcomed the commitment by the leaders of the two countries to work constructively for peace and to respect the determination of the Boundary Commission.  While there may be differing perspectives on both sides, it was important that they work out a common approach with Special Representative Legwaila.

One key principle that should be emphasized, he said, was that the parties refrain from unilateral and destabilizing actions in the run-up to the completion of the Boundary Commission’s work.  There had been good compliance in implementing the peace process on the ground, but there had also been uneasiness and tensions.  The two countries must rise above the unhappy past and look forward to a new chapter of coexistence and economic cooperation for the good of their two peoples.

He stressed the priority need for demining; release of prisoners of war and detainees without preconditions; demobilization on both sides; and the need for confidence-building measures, including the recent meetings of religious leaders in Addis Ababa and Asmara.  Both countries were urged to cooperate in ensuring freedom of movement for UNMEE, resolution of the status-of-forces agreement and the establishment of a direct air corridor between Addis Ababa and Asmara.  Such actions would promote mutual confidence.

GENNADY GATILOV (Russian Federation) said the situation in the area remained calm.  That was a major attainment, reflecting the good will of both parties and was a result of joint efforts of the Council, UNMEE and the OAU.  The mission was a concrete contribution to United Nations action in that area.  He supported the recommendations of the mission and was prepared to work constructively on their implementation.  He consistently advocated a peaceful settlement to the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, based on the principles of international law.  He was pleased that during the mission the leaders of both parties again confirmed their unfailing commitment to the peace agreements and to comply with the forthcoming decision of the Boundary Commission.

It was important, he said, for both parties to continue to follow the spirit and letter of the Algiers Agreement and not take any unilateral actions.  The actions taken to establish good neighbourliness deserved special encouragement.  The forthcoming decision of the Boundary Commission would be an important landmark in the settlement.  He called on the United Nations to provide all necessary support and resources to the Commission. 

RICHARD WILLIAMSON (United States) said that the mission’s discussions had reaffirmed the need to work out the modalities for implementing the decision of the Boundary Commission.  But while there was no doubt that the parties would carry out the Algiers Peace Agreement, there was a risk that misunderstandings on either side could spiral into a series of miscalculations.  There was, thus, an urgent need for the two parties to work out the modalities with UNMEE.

He urged the parties to move forward now, without waiting for the announcement of the Boundary Commission’s decision.  They should also identify a third party upon whose good offices they could call when they could not agree on implementation of a particular issue.  The Friends of Eritrea and Ethiopia could play such a role in the next phase of the peace process.

Expressing concern over UNMEE’s lack of planning, he said that under the Algiers accord the primary responsibility for demining lay with the parties, while UNMEE would provide advice and technical support.  The parties’ demining efforts would be important as confidence-building measures that could establish an atmosphere of good faith as the peace process moved forward.  The United States was disappointed that neither side had any arrangements to carry out demining.  Both sides should make realistic plans to carry out that task.

CHEN XU (China) said that the mission had successfully visited Ethiopia and Eritrea, demonstrating the Council’s firm support of the peace process.  The peace process was at a crucial stage.  On the one hand, the Temporary Security Zone was basically calm.  Both sides had agreed to comply with the decision of the Boundary Commission, and the situation was encouraging.  On the other hand, the peace agreement itself did not mean that peace would naturally appear.  The specific modalities for implementation still needed to be determined.  The return of prisoners of war was among the remaining issues to be resolved.  Further efforts were required from both sides.

It might be easy to draw a boundary line on paper and physically demarcate it on the ground, he said.  At the same time, both sides must maintain calm in the Temporary Security Zone and refrain from any unilateral actions that might destabilize the situation.  He commended the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his efforts in moving the peace process forward.  He hoped that UNMEE would continue its efforts to play a positive role for the smooth implementation of the Boundary Commission’s decision.  The consolidation of the peace process required the cooperation not only of both Governments, but also between the countries, the United Nations, UNMEE and the agencies and organizations on the ground. 

MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said the international community expected the two countries to take every necessary step to make it possible for demarcation to be conducted rapidly.  They should refrain from any unilateral actions that could revive tension.  Cameroon also stressed the importance of immediately releasing prisoners of war and detainees.

He said the role of UNMEE in stabilizing the situation and creating conditions conducive to the peace process had been, and remained, vital.  Local United Nations agencies were also accomplishing remarkable work that deserved the Council’s respect.  The importance of UNMEE could only increase following the decision of the Boundary Commission, and it must be maintained as a guarantee of stability.  Cameroon, therefore, supported a renewal of its mandate for  a further six months to provide support for the demarcation process..

The role of the Friends of Eritrea and Ethiopia and the facilitators was vital in developing confidence-building measures and promoting the normalization of relations between the two countries, he said.  Now more than ever, the international community must rally in supporting the peace process, for the reintegration of refugees and displaced persons in the interests of lasting peace in the region.

He said the publication of the Boundary Commission at the end of March would be a significant mark in the history of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.  The two countries must have relations of peace, harmony, brotherhood and shared prosperity.  History and geography dictated it, he emphasized.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said that it was clear that UNMEE was doing positive work in the Temporary Security Zone and in the delicate diplomatic task assigned to it.  Its presence would be all the more necessary during the border demarcation process.  He urged both countries to continue to cooperate closely with UNMEE.  Also, while the restoration of good neighbourliness between Ethiopia and Eritrea was of interest to both countries and the rest of the international community, further efforts were required.  It was essential to insist on the appeal made to the parties to refrain from any unilateral action disregarding the peace agreement. The OAU had a particular role to play in that respect and needed to continue to support the peace process, as well as contribute to reconciliation in the Horn of Africa.

In addition, he said, it was necessary to care for refugees and displaced persons, rebuild homes and restore confidence.  In that regard, he urged donors to give generously to the humanitarian appeal.

YVES DOUTRIAUX (France), endorsing the statement to be made by Spain on behalf of the European Union, noted the commitment by the two countries to commit themselves to the decision of the Boundary Commission.  France supported the Council’s determination to support the implementation of that decision, which must begin promptly.

Strongly urging the parties to refrain from unilateral actions, he expressed the hope that the new phase of the peace process would make possible the reintegration of displaced persons as well as the release of prisoners of war and detainees.

He said his country would like to see the institution of confidence-building measures.  The implementation of the Boundary Commission’s decision would open a new stage leading to final demarcation.  France would draft a resolution to define the role of UNMEE in implementing the final stages of the peace process.

GERARD CORR (Ireland) said it was quite clear that the determination of the Boundary Commission should be implemented quickly, in a coordinated and orderly fashion.  When signing the Algiers Agreement, both parties rightly recognized the assistance that the United Nations could offer in that process.  He strongly encouraged both parties to cooperate fully with UNMEE in developing, as quickly as possible, a common understanding of the steps to be taken, and to elaborate the appropriate institutional arrangements to ensure that stability prevailed and that further human suffering was minimized.  In doing so, he strongly urged the parties to accord maximum cooperation to UNMEE, particularly regarding the security arrangements.  It was clearly important that the separation of forces, as achieved by the Temporary Security Zone, continued.

It was widely recognized, he said, that the demarcation process would require a massive demining effort.  While primary responsibility for that task lay with the parties, he encouraged the Secretary-General to consider what practical role UNMEE could play to expedite that work.  After all, it was clear under the Algiers Agreement that UNMEE’s mandate would not be completed until such time as demarcation was complete.  His country was prepared to consider any recommendations regarding the mandate of UNMEE that implementation of the Boundary Commission decision would necessitate. 

STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said the next stage of the peace process was at hand with the upcoming decision of the Boundary Commission.  He noted with satisfaction the public announcement of both leaders who reaffirmed that the decision of the Commission would be final and binding.  At present, it was fundamental to focus the attention of the Council and the international community on the implementation of the forthcoming decision.  The UNMEE must continue to carry out its mandate throughout the demarcation process.

The problem of demining was a critical one for the success of the demarcation process and the return of refugees, he said.  While it was the primary responsibility of the two parties, it was important for UNMEE to be able to support them so that the demining process could be successful and allow the demarcation process to be completed.  He encouraged both governments to continue to promote confidence building.  He was pleased with the fruitful meetings held between the mission and the various religious communities.  Concerned with humanitarian consequences resulting from the conflict, he said that the international community must mobilize all its resources to help the people of that area.  In closing, he paid tribute to the men and women of UNMEE for their professionalism and commitment. 

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said the mission’s message directly reflected the interest of the international community and of the Council in resolving the conflict that had taken thousands of lives and displaced innocent citizens on both sides of the conflict.  Peace and justice, as well as the principles of international law, would promote friendship and development of the two countries.

He said his country was gratified at the possibility of a boundary settlement in the near future and welcomed the two leaders’ decision to accept the determination of the Boundary Commission.  Syria was confident that they would cooperate fully with UNMEE in procedures and modalities following the Commission’s decision.

Urging the two parties to give full attention to report of the mission, he said his country hoped the Organization of African Unity, the facilitators, and the Friends of Eritrea and Ethiopia would step up their efforts.  Syria believed that the renewal of UNMEE’s mandate for an additional six months would help to strengthen the peace process.

He said the Horn of Africa had endured many serious conflicts with disastrous consequences in the past.  The international community was duty-bound to contribute to the resolution of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia and to seek a just and equitable settlement in that delicate region of the world.

BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) was pleased at the many efforts made to bring about a peaceful settlement to the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as at the recent statement of both parties that the decision of the Boundary Commission would be final and binding.  However, the period following that decision would be fragile.  Among other things, it would be necessary to adopt measures to facilitate the demining of the Temporary Security Zone to make it possible for the Boundary Commission to proceed without delay.  Due to the lack of financial resources, the two Governments alone could not carry out demining efforts without assistance. 

He appealed to the various actors in the peace process to strengthen relations with both countries in order to promote a continued constructive dialogue.  He was convinced that effective implementation of the Algiers Agreement would not only bring about peace between the two countries, but also tighten the traditional bonds between the Ethiopian and Eritrean peoples.  He hoped donors would be generous in contributing to the resolution of the conflict. 

ALISTAIR HARRISON (United Kingdom), endorsing the statement to be made by Spain on behalf of the European Union, said it was obvious that the Boundary Commission’s decision would have considerable importance for the peace process and for the stability of the region.

But the decision would not be the end of the peace process and current arrangements on the ground would have to remain, he said.  Eritrean non-compliance would also have to be addressed.  Pointing out that demining may be beyond the capacity of the two countries, he urged the Council to consider enhancing UNMEE’s role in that regard when it renewed the peacekeeping mission's mandate.

JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said the commitment by the two sides to abide by the Boundary Commission's decision constituted a very important step in forging a sustained peace between the countries.  Once the decision was known, it would be extremely important for both sides to discuss with UNMEE ways and means for its implementation.  The guarantors, facilitators and the witnesses of the peace process should continue to use their good offices to impress upon the two sides the need to live up to their obligations.  He suggested that Norway could use its good offices to complement the work of the Secretary-General's Special Representative in ensuring that the two parties implemented the decision.

He said that once the decision was known it would be of utmost importance for the two sides to refrain from any unilateral action that could negatively impact the peace process.  All issues pertaining to the movement of population or troops should only be addressed through dialogue within the framework to be established by the United Nations.  During the mission, he had had the opportunity to visit a UNICEF-run school where mine-awareness was emphasized.  Anti-personnel landmines continued to hinder the proper return of internally displaced persons. The mission had urged the leadership of the two countries to fully cooperate in ensuring an expeditious demining process leading up to the demarcation stage.

Council President JAN PETERSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, speaking in his national capacity, said the mission underlined the strong supportive engagement of the international community and its urge to understand and engage the parties in a constructive dialogue on the way forward.  He commended the parties for their commitment to fully implement the Algiers Agreement.  Based on the forthcoming decision of the Boundary Commission, a final settlement was about to be reached.  Ethiopia and Eritrea, with the assistance of the international community, would be able to embark on and again concentrate all their efforts on their economic and social development. 

He said that with the peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two countries, the enhancement of peace and stability in the rest of the Horn of Africa could also gain momentum.  On the eve of the decision of the Commission, the message from the international community had been unambiguous –- the United Nations and the international community would continue its support to help implement the practical and physical demarcation of the border. 

TESFA ALEM SEYOUM (Eritrea) said Council members were aware that the Temporary Security Zone, which was the cornerstone of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 12 December 2000, could not be established due to Ethiopia's refusal to redeploy its troops.  As a result of that violation, more than 60,000 Eritrean civilians remained stranded in makeshift camps to date, unable to return to their homes and villages.  The Mission was a witness to the condition in which those men, women and children were living.

He said that Ethiopia had also refused to fulfil the Agreement's

Article 8 on prompt demining, a vital treaty obligation.  Ethiopia had, for no justifiable reason, failed to provide UNMEE with detailed landmine information, the provision of which assumed added significance today due to the fact that the task of expeditious demarcation -- and ultimate peace between the two countries -- would depend on rapid completion of mine clearance, especially along the common boundary.

Eritrea, he said, noted with deep concern the Security Council's appeal for an orderly transfer of administration and population returns, and cautioned against unilateralist action without urging Ethiopia to respect its treaty obligations, which it had already violated.  Ethiopia had frustrated the implementation of the agreements by dilatory tactics in the last two years.

FESSEHA TESSEMA (Ethiopia) was convinced that the Council’s mission would contribute to moving the peace process forward and would contribute to resolving some of the outstanding issues that needed to be resolved before the announcement of the Boundary Commission.  One of those issues was the complete demilitarization of the Temporary Security Zone.  He was seriously concerned that the Zone was not fully demilitarized and continued to be infiltrated.  Also, the status-of-forces Agreement governing relations between UNMEE and the two countries had not yet been signed by Eritrea.  Further, he hoped that the issue of high-altitude flights for UNMEE would be resolved once and for all through consultations with the other party.

The peace process was in a critical stage, he stressed.  He looked forward to the impartial decision to be handed down by the Boundary Commission.  Also, he would not want to see any remaining issues jeopardize the implementation of the Algiers Agreement.  The decision of the Boundary Commission ought to be a judicial one, void of any political pressures.  His Government was committed to the full implementation of its outcome.

INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Iceland, said the announcement of the Boundary Commission's decision in the next few weeks would close the first phase of the ongoing peace process.  The European Union expected that the parties would ensure that the process of implementation of that decision would commence immediately and proceed expeditiously in a coordinated manner, while maintaining stability in all affected areas.  As the Council would consider the extension of UNMEE's mandate next week, he looked forward to the Secretary-General's recommendations with a view to providing an overall framework of the implementation phase and the appropriate role of UNMEE.

To facilitate the implementation process, a further development of the institutional framework for the peace process would be needed, in particular through appropriate strengthening of the Military Coordination Commission, he said.  The European Union attached the utmost importance to the continuation of arrangements for the separation of the forces, as achieved by the establishment of the Temporary Security Zone.

In the context of confidence-building measures, the European Union called on the parties to immediately release and return unconditionally all remaining prisoners of war and all those detained as a result of the armed conflict.  It was also important to ensure a sustainable reintegration of refugees, internally displaced persons and demobilized soldiers.  He called on the parties urgently to resolve all the other outstanding issues, including that of full freedom of movement of UNMEE.

He said the consolidation of peace between both countries would contribute to regional cooperation and integration, which was vitally important for a stable and sustainable development in the Horn of Africa, which remained an area of particular concern for the Union.  In that context, he noted the signing of the protocol on the establishment of an early conflict warning and response mechanism at the ninth Intergovernmental Authority on Development Summit on 11 January.  The EU would continue to provide assistance to the populations affected by the conflict and by other humanitarian disasters such as the current drought.

DIRK JAN VAN DEN BERG (Netherlands) said the peace process in Ethiopia and Eritrea was nearing a critical moment with the forthcoming decision of the Boundary Commission, which would be accepted by the parties as "final and binding".  He hoped that the formal presentation of that decision would take place in such a way that Ethiopians, Eritreans and the whole world could witness that crucial moment.

He said the Algiers Agreement linked the termination of UNMEE with the completion of the demarcation of the border.  Ultimately, its implementation would conclude the peace process.  Implementing the Boundary Commission's decision was, however, an extensive logistical and managerial process that could not be left to the Commission.  He saw an important role for UNMEE in providing the required logistical and managerial support for the demarcation and in establishing the necessary conditions such as demining operations.  Attention should also be paid to possible trans-border movement of population and internally displaced persons and other issues.  That matter should be discussed as soon as possible, and the outcome of those discussions should be reflected in an adjusted mandate for UNMEE. It was also important to have realistic budgetary estimates available on the costs of the demarcation process.

As Chairman of the Group of Friends of Eritrea and Ethiopia, he guaranteed that the Group would strive to keep the dialogue with authorities of both countries going in order to do its part in achieving the ultimate goal of the peace process:  full and normalized relations between both countries.

YOSHIYUKI MOTOMURA (Japan) commended Ethiopia and Eritrea for choosing to resolve their differences through an international conflict resolution mechanism and welcomed recent statements by both sides reaffirming that the Boundary Commission’s decision was final and binding.  He expected that all necessary steps for the decision’s implementation would commence immediately following the Commission's announcement and hoped that Japan's $1 million contribution to the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of the Delimitation and Demarcation of the

Ethiopia/Eritrea Border would be utilized effectively.  He appealed to both parties to refrain from any action that could have a destabilizing effect.

The successful implementation of the Commission's decision would in large part depend on demining of the border area, he said.  That was also crucial for confidence-building in order to resolve localized disputes and rebuild community relations, particularly through the promotion of cross-border contacts at the local level.  Commenting on Council missions, he said those missions could be a useful tool, as had been demonstrated by the latest mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea.  He believed that, in order to ensure that future missions were fruitful, it would be worthwhile to establish criteria for sending missions and ensure budgetary transparency.

In closing remarks, Mr. KOLBY, Security Council President, stated that the most important thing now was to look ahead to the steps that still needed to be taken.  The two leaders had both characterized the mission as constructive and timely.  The Council should build further on that foundation.  Concerning the outstanding issues, the positions of the Council had been stated clearly and repeatedly.  They were well known and should be adhered to.  The international community would stand firmly behind the parties in implementing both the Algiers Agreement and the decision of the Boundary Commission.

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For information media. Not an official record.