SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED ABOUT CONTINUING TENSION IN TEMPORARY SECURITY ZONE, EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA

30 January 2008
SC/9237

SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED ABOUT CONTINUING TENSION IN TEMPORARY SECURITY ZONE, EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA

30 January 2008
Security Council
SC/9237
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5829th Meeting (Night)

SECURITY COUNCIL, CONCERNED ABOUT CONTINUING TENSION IN TEMPORARY SECURITY ZONE,

EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA

Expressing its deep concern about the continuing dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the tense security situation in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas, the Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) for a period of six months, until 31 July 2008.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1798 (2008), the Council called upon the parties to show maximum restraint and refrain from any threat or use of force against each other, avoid provocative military activities, and put an end to the exchange of hostile statements.  It also demanded that the two countries immediately take concrete steps to complete the process launched by the Peace Agreement of 12 December 2000 by enabling physical demarcation of the border.

Also by the text, the Council reiterated its demands that Eritrea withdraw immediately all troops and heavy military equipment from the Temporary Security Zone, to provide UNMEE with the necessary access, assistance, support and protection required for the performance of its duties, and to remove restrictions on the Mission immediately and without preconditions.  It’s noted with grave concern the Mission’s critical fuel levels, and demanded that the Government of Eritrea resume immediately fuel shipments to UNMEE or allow it to import fuel without restrictions.

At the same time, the Council called upon Ethiopia to reduce the number of military forces in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone.  It reiterated its call on both parties to cooperate fully with UNMEE with a view to urgently reactivating the work of the Military Coordination Commission, which remained a unique forum to discuss pressing military and security issues.

The Council strongly supported ongoing efforts by the Secretary-General and the international community to engage with Eritrea and Ethiopia to help them normalize relations, promote stability and lay the foundation for a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the dispute.  It urged the parties to accept the Secretary-General’s good offices.

As it considered the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Council had before it the Secretary-General’s latest report on the matter (document S/2008/40), which describes the tense military situation in the Temporary Security Zone during the period leading up to the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s 30 November 2007 deadline for demarcation of the boundary.  Both countries continued to reinforce their military deployments in the border area and the Eritrean Defence Forces continued to induct troops into the Zone.  The Ethiopian Armed Forces conducted training exercises and advanced some 2,300 additional troops deeper into the border areas in Sector West.

According to the report, the Secretary-General encourages the parties to resume the meetings of the Military Coordination Commission and to cooperate in promoting confidence-building measures such as demining, and facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance.

Annexed to the report is the twenty-sixth report of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, which affirms that the boundary now automatically stands as demarcated by the boundary points (coordinates) listed in the annex to the Commission’s statement of 27 November 2006, and that it considers that decision as binding on the parties.  The Commission asserts that it “has fulfilled its mandate and remains in existence in order to deal with any remaining administrative matters”.  While Ethiopia has acknowledged the Commission’s decision to end its work and stated that it will not be necessary to appoint a replacement for Sir Arthur Watts, a Commission member who passed away in November 2007, Eritrea has urged the Commission to arrange a placement of pillars on the ground.  Eritrea has accepted the demarcation coordinates as “an important step forward towards the demarcation on the ground”, while Ethiopia maintains that the coordinates are invalid “because they are not the product of a demarcation process recognised by international law”.

The meeting began at 5:59 p.m. and ended at 6:01 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 1798 (2008) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming all its previous resolutions and statements pertaining to the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea (hereinafter referred to as “the parties”) and the requirements contained therein, including in particular resolutions 1320 (2000), 1430 (2002), 1466 (2003), 1640 (2005), 1681 (2006), 1710 (2006), 1741 (2007) and 1767 (2007),

Stressing once again its unwavering commitment to the peace process, and to the full and expeditious implementation of the Algiers Agreements as a basis for peaceful and cooperative relations between the parties, and recalling paragraph 15 of article 4 of the Peace Agreement of 12 December 2000 (S/2000/1183), in which the parties agreed that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) shall be final and binding,

Expressing its support for the efforts of the EEBC, welcoming once again the acceptance by the parties of the delimitation decision of the EEBC of 13 April 2002, recalling that it acknowledged the Statement of the EEBC of 27 November 2006, and taking note of the 26th EEBC Report annexed to the Secretary-General‘s report of 23 January 2008 (S/2008/40),

Stressing that the physical demarcation of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia would support a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the dispute between the parties and normalization of their relations,

Expressing its deep concern about the continuing dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and over the continued tense and potentially unstable security situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and the adjacent areas, and stressing that it is the primary responsibility of the Parties to end this situation by fulfilling their obligations expeditiously under the Algiers Agreements,

Reaffirming once again the integrity of the TSZ as provided for in paragraphs 12-14 of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000 (S/2000/601), and recalling the objectives of its establishment, in particular to create conditions conducive to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the conflict, and the commitment of the parties to respect the TSZ,

Underlining that the Security Council remains committed to its role, in particular helping to ensure that the parties respect the commitments they made in the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000 (S/2000/601) and the Peace Agreement of 12 December 2000 (S/2000/1183), to which the United Nations was one of the witnesses,

Commending the efforts made by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and its military and civilian personnel to accomplish its duties, despite the difficult circumstances,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 23 January 2008 (S/2008/40),

“1.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNMEE for a period of six months, until 31 July 2008;

“2.   Reiterates its call that the parties show maximum restraint and refrain from any threat or use of force against each other, avoid provocative military activities, and put an end to the exchange of hostile statements;

“3.   Reiterates its call on Eritrea and Ethiopia to maintain their full commitment to the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, and to de-escalate the situation, including by returning to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment;

“4.   Underlines that Eritrea and Ethiopia bear the primary responsibility for achieving a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the border dispute and normalizing their relations, demands that they take immediately concrete steps in order to complete the process launched by the Peace Agreement of 12 December 2000 (S/2000/1183) by enabling physical demarcation of the border, and urges them to normalize their relations;

“5.   Reiterates its demands on Eritrea to withdraw immediately all troops and heavy military equipment from the TSZ, to provide UNMEE with the necessary access, assistance, support and protection required for the performance of its duties and to remove immediately and without preconditions the restrictions on UNMEE;

“6.   Reiterates its call on Ethiopia to reduce the number of military forces in the areas adjacent to the TSZ;

“7.   Notes with grave concern UNMEE’s critical fuel levels, demands that the Government of Eritrea resumes immediately fuel shipments to UNMEE or allows UNMEE to import fuel without restrictions, and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council informed of developments;

“8.   Reiterates its call on both parties to fully cooperate with UNMEE with a view to urgently reactivating the work of the Military Coordination Commission which remains a unique forum to discuss pressing military and security issues;

“9.   Strongly supports the ongoing efforts by the Secretary-General and the international community to engage with Eritrea and Ethiopia to help them to normalize their relations, to promote stability between the parties, and to lay the foundation for a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the dispute, and urges the parties to accept the Secretary-General’s good offices;

“10.  Welcomes the ongoing efforts by the Secretary-General towards the earliest appointment of a Special Representative;

“11.  Expresses its willingness to reconsider any changes to the UNMEE mandate in light of subsequent developments in the implementation of the Algiers Agreements;

“12.  Calls on Member States to provide contributions to the Trust Fund, established pursuant to Resolution 1177 (1998) and referred to in Article 4 (17) of the Peace Agreement of 12 December 2000;

“13.  Expresses its deep appreciation for the contribution and dedication of the troop-contributing countries to the work of UNMEE;

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

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.