Following is the Security Council press statement on Ethiopia and Eritrea, delivered today by Council President Adamantios Th. Vassilakis (Greece):
Members of the Council heard a briefing from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea during informal consultations on 11 July.
Members of the Council note with deep concern the continued lack of progress in the implementation of the final and binding decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and urge Ethiopia to accept fully and both sides to implement completely this decision.
Members of the Council encourage both parties to work towards a full normalization of their relations, including through talking to each other, as stipulated in resolution 1586 (2005).
Members of the Council express their concern over the recent shooting incidents in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). They call on both parties to refrain from any action which may lead to an escalation of the tension between the two countries. In this respect, they express concern about the continuing high concentration of troops in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone.
Members of the Council note that there has been a decline in the restrictions placed on the freedom of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) personnel, but stress that several other open questions such as the direct flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara remain unresolved. They also express their concern over the latest restrictions on UNMEE's military police contingent in Asmara.
They call on Eritrea to review its decision to close the road from Asmara to Barentu, via Keren, and to extend all privileges and immunities to UNMEE personnel to enable it to carry out its mandated task.
Members of the Council note possible options to resolve the stalemate in the peace process include, when appropriate, a visit to Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as a meeting of the witnesses to the signature of the Algiers Agreement.
Members of the Council are concerned about the ongoing food insecurity in Ethiopia and Eritrea and its potential to create greater instability, and call on Member States to provide generous support for both humanitarian and development activities to improve food security in Ethiopia and Eritrea.