Eritrea + 1 more

Eritrea-Ethiopia: Security Council urges cooperation with border commission

ASMARA, 17 March (IRIN) - The UN Security Council has called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to accept an independent ruling on demarcation of their common boundary.
In a resolution, adopted on Friday, the 15-nation council also approved a six-month extension of the UN peacekeeping mission's (UNMEE) mandate, until 15 September.

Tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea have mounted in the past week as Ethiopian leaders have indicated that Ethiopia may not accept a ruling made by the Boundary Commission last April demarcating the border between the two countries.

These indications led the Boundary Commission to chastise Ethiopia last week for trying to change the ruling.

Furthermore Eritrea's foreign minister, Ali Said Abdella, warned in a letter submitted to the Security Council last week that Eritrea may be plunged into yet another war with Ethiopia if the latter were allowed to "flaunt international law" and reject last year's border ruling.

The two-year border war, which left at least 70,000 dead, ended with the signing of a peace accord in December 2000, in which both countries agreed that the commission's decision on the border would be final and binding.

Yet Ethiopia sent a 141-page document to the commission in January which "amounted to an attempt to reopen the substance of the April Decision", the Commission stated in its recent report the Security Council.

Last week, Secretary General Kofi Annan lauded the two countries for their cooperation, but added that "it is now time for them to translate their commitments into real action on the ground, namely, implementation of the 13 April 2002 delimitation decision". Annan also said in his report that "efforts to reopen fundamental matters already settled through binding arbitration could only be counterproductive".

In its resolution, the Security Council expressed its full support for the Boundary Commission's work and urged the two countries to "cooperate fully and promptly" with the Commission.

It also urged them to refrain from unilateral troop or population shifts, including the establishment of any new settlements near the border, until after demarcation is completed.


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