New York

16 October 2006

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Ethiopia/Eritrea –Violation of the Temporary Security Zone

This morning, the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) reported that the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) have moved approximately 1,500 troops and 14 tanks into the Temporary Security Zone. The EDF took over one UNMEE checkpoint in Sector West.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the incursion into the Zone, which was established under the 2000 Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities. This development constitutes a major breach of the ceasefire and the integrity of the TSZ. It could seriously jeopardize the peace process and undermine the Algiers Agreements between Ethiopia and Eritrea, with potential consequences for the wider region.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of Eritrea to withdraw its troops from the Zone immediately, and to cooperate with the United Nations in restoring the ceasefire arrangements.