Statement by the UNMEE Force Commander Major General Robert Gordon

from UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
Published on 20 Jun 2003
The following is a statement attributable to UNMEE's Force Commander Major General Robert Gordon who was unable to attend the Press Briefing on Thursday June 19 due to a previous engagement. The Force Commander would like to clarify statements made in the Press Briefing concerning the issue of the provision of security by the parties during demarcation, as discussed at the 17th MCC in Nairobi on Monday 16th June.
The Temporary Security Zone is currently wholly within Eritrean administered territory. Under the Algiers Agreement, Eritrean Defence Forces are not allowed in the TSZ. Currently the southern boundary of the TSZ marks the temporary boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea. During the demarcation process, UNMEE peacekeeping forces will remain in the TSZ, interpositioned between the forces of Ethiopia and Eritrea, through the completion of demarcation. When the EEBC begins to demarcate the final border, the security of the EEBC contractors will be the responsibility of the Parties. Where the border runs through territory currently controlled by Eritrea, security will be the responsibility of the Eritrean authorities, (using their police and militia, who alone are allowed to operate within the TSZ). Where the new border runs through territory currently controlled by Ethiopia (all of which lies south of the TSZ) security will be the responsibility of the Ethiopian authorities (using whatever combination of army, militia and police they choose). This responsibility for the Parties is outlined in Security Council Resolution 1466 (2003) of 14 March 2003, which also affirms UNMEE's responsibility to monitor the Parties' fulfillment of these security responsibilities. The MCC of 16 June discussed these responsibilities and reassured itself that the Parties were clear on them and foresaw no military or technical problems in their discharge.

For further enquiries please contact:

Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Spokeswoman and Chief of Public Information
UNMEE Headquarters Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-1-726895; Mobile: 251 9 223031 Or
UNMEE Headquarters Asmara, telephone: 291-1-150411 or our tie-line in New York: 00-1-212-963-3779