SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS ETHIOPIA/ERITREA MISSION UNTIL 15 SEPTEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1586

14 March 2005
SC/8334

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS ETHIOPIA/ERITREA MISSION UNTIL 15 SEPTEMBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1586

14/03/2005
Press ReleaseSC/8334

Security Council

5139th Meeting (PM)*

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS ETHIOPIA/ERITREA MISSION UNTIL 15 SEPTEMBER,

 

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1586

 

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) until 15 September 2005, and called on both countries to refrain from any threat of use of force against each other.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1586 (2005), the Council also called on both parties to refrain from any increase of troops in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone, and to give serious consideration to returning to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment.

In addition, the Council stressed that Ethiopia and Eritrea have the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Algiers Agreements and the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission.  It called on both parties to show leadership to achieve a full normalization of their relationship, including through political dialogue for the adoption of further confidence-building measures and to consolidate progress achieved so far, by making full use of the existing framework of the Boundary Commission.

Further, the Council reiterated its call on the parties to cooperate fully and promptly with the Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously, including through the complete appointment by Ethiopia of its field liaison officers.

The Council also called on Ethiopia without preconditions to start the implementation of demarcation, by taking the necessary steps to enable the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly.

The meeting began at 1:05 p.m. and ended at 1:06 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 1586 (2005) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming all its previous resolutions and statements pertaining to the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the requirements contained therein, including in particular resolution 1560 (2004) of 14 September 2004,

Stressing its unwavering commitment to the peace process, including through the role played by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and

to the full and expeditious implementation of the Comprehensive peace agreement signed by the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea (hereinafter referred to as “the parties”) on 12 December 2000 and the preceding Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000 (S/2000/1183 and S/2000/601, respectively, hereinafter referred to as the “Algiers Agreements”), and the delimitation decision by the Boundary Commission of 13 April 2002 (S/2000/423), embraced by the parties as final and binding in accordance with the Algiers Agreements,

Welcoming the Secretary General’s determination that UNMEE has been able to maintain the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ),

Expressing concern regarding the recent high concentration of Ethiopian troops in the areas adjacent to the TSZ,

Recalling that lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as in the region cannot be achieved without the full demarcation of the border between the parties,

Seriously concerned with the Commission’s decision to take immediate steps to close down its field offices, due to the lack of progress made in the demarcation of the border, as reflected in the 16th report on the work of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission of 24 February 2005,

Expressing concern about Ethiopia’s ongoing rejection of significant parts of the Boundary Commission’s decision, and its current lack of cooperation with the Commission, including the refusal to participate in the meeting of 22 February 2005,

Expressing disappointment about the continuing refusal of Eritrea to engage with the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose good offices represent a concrete opportunity for both parties to move the peace process forward,

Recalling the recent increase in United Nations peacekeeping activities and the need to allocate peacekeeping resources in the most effective manner, and recalling in this regard the additional burden caused by the delays in the demarcation process,

WelcomingEritrea’s unconditional acceptance of the Boundary Commission’s decision,

WelcomingEthiopia’s Five point proposal of November 25 2004,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General (S/2005/142) and welcoming the observations made therein,

“1.   Decides to extend the present mandate of UNMEE until 15 September 2005;

“2.   Calls on both parties to refrain from any increase of troops in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone, to give serious consideration to returning to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment and more generally, to refrain from any threat of use of force against each other;

“3.   Calls on both parties to cooperate fully and expeditiously with UNMEE in the implementation of its mandate, to ensure the security of all UNMEE staff, and to remove immediately and unconditionally all restrictions on and impediments to the work and to the full and free movement of UNMEE and its staff;

“4.   Takes note of positive developments in some areas of relations between UNMEE and both parties, and in this regard urges Eritrea to take immediate steps, in consultation with UNMEE, towards implementing the direct flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara; also calls upon Eritrea to reopen the Asmara to Barentu road;

“5.   Stresses that Ethiopia and Eritrea have the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Algiers Agreements and the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and calls upon both parties to show leadership to achieve a full normalization of their relationship, including through political dialogue for the adoption of further confidence-building measures and to consolidate progress achieved so far, by making full use of the existing framework of the Boundary Commission;

“6.   Reiterates its call on the parties to cooperate fully and promptly with the Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously, including through the complete appointment by Ethiopia of its field liaison officers;

“7.   Calls on Ethiopia without preconditions to start the implementation of demarcation, by taking the necessary steps to enable the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly;

“8.   Expresses its concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea and the implications this could have for the peace process and calls on Member States to continue to provide prompt and generous support for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea;

“9.   Reiterates its full support for the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Lloyd Axworthy, in his efforts to facilitate the implementation of the Algiers Agreements, the decision of the Boundary Commission and normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries through his good offices, and emphasizes that this appointment does not constitute an alternative mechanism;

“10.  Calls on Eritrea to accept the good offices of the Secretary General and cooperate with his Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea;

“11.  Calls on the witnesses to the Algiers Agreements to play a more concerted and active role to facilitate their full implementation;

“12.  Decides to continue monitoring closely the steps taken by the parties in the implementation of their commitments under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and under the Algiers Agreements, including through the Boundary Commission, and to review any implications for UNMEE;

“13.  Requests the Secretary-General to continue to monitor the situation closely, to review the mission’s mandate in the light of progress made in the peace process and changes made to UNMEE;

“14.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Background

When the Council met today, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea (document S/2005/142), in which he recommends that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) be extended for an additional period of six months, until 15 September.

Despite the difficulties experienced in the peace process, particularly in the implementation of the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission of April 2002, the Secretary-General commends the parties for their continued commitment to the provisions of the agreement on cessation of hostilities of June 2000.  This has contributed to the sustained ability of the UNMEE to maintain the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone.

In his last report, the Secretary-General urged the two parties not to undertake any activities that could undermine the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone or otherwise jeopardize the fragile and relative stability that has prevailed thus far.  It is, therefore, troubling that Ethiopia’s announcement of its five-point proposal was followed by a substantial redeployment of their forces near the southern boundary of the Zone.  A stalemate in the peace process is a source of instability; this is exacerbated when troops are amassed in the border region.

Therefore, the Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to both parties to refrain from any action that could destabilize the situation.  Equally, he notes with concern statements to the effect that it is not possible to implement the Boundary Commission’s decision as is, and reiterates the importance for the parties to accept the demarcation of the boundary in accordance with the Commission’s instructions.

In the December 2000 Algiers Agreement, the parties committed to submit their boundary dispute to binding arbitration.  Three years have passed since the Commission issued its decision.  The Secretary-General welcomes any step that contributes to the full implementation of the 2000 Algiers Agreement and the subsequent decision of the Boundary Commission, the initiation of dialogue between Eritrea and Ethiopia and their willingness to normalize bilateral relations.

In February 2002, shortly before the Boundary Commission issued its delimitation decision, the Council visited the two countries in order to assure them that it would continue to support the peace process, including demarcation.  The Council may find it opportune to reaffirm and demonstrate its commitment by returning to Eritrea and Ethiopia. In order to ensure that the impact of this visit is not mitigated by other political developments in the region over the next few months, such a mission by the Council, no later than this summer, may be timely.  As was the case in its previous visit, discussions with the leadership in the two capitals could be accompanied by stops in the border area.

In addition, the Secretary-General appeals to Eritrea to engage his Special Envoy, Lloyd Axworthy, and to extend to him the necessary cooperation in order to enable him to facilitate the implementation of the Algiers Agreement and the decision of the Boundary Commission.

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*     The 5138th Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.