Ethiopia + 1 more

UNMEE media briefing notes 14 Jul 2005

A near verbatim transcript of the press briefing held by the Spokeswoman and Chief of Public Information, Gail Bindley-Taylor-Sainté in Asmara, via videoconference linking participants in Asmara and Addis Ababa. Also present at the briefing in Asmara was the UNMEE Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Nandwa

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Asmara, Joel Adechi, on 7 July, met with His Excellency Ambassador Yahya M. Sayaghi of the Republic of Yemen to Eritrea, with whom he discussed current developments in the peace process.

On the same day, the DSRSG/Asmara met with Mr. Tmidamien Gugliermina, Officer In Charge (OIC)-Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Eritrea. During the meeting they discussed the upcoming visit of Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa, expected to be scheduled during the second part of July 2005.

On 8 July, the DSRSG/Asmara met with His Excellency Ibrahim Khalil, Ambassador of Egypt to Eritrea, to discuss the current situation in the peace process.

On 11 July, the DSRSG/Asmara met with His Excellency Scot DiLisi, US Ambassador to Eritrea, with whom he exchanged views on developments in the peace process.

On the same day, the Officer In Charge-UNMEE Headquarters/Addis Ababa Leandre Bassole met with His Excellency Yasushi Akashi, Chairman of the Japan Centre for Conflict Prevention (JCCP) and a former UN Under-Secretary-General. Mr. Akashi was leading a research delegation to Ethiopia on international peace and security, an initiative of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The objective of the meeting was to exchange views on the current situation in the peace process and on the way forward.


General Overview:

The general situation in the Mission area remains militarily stable. There have been no significant changes in troop locations or dispositions reported in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and the Adjacent Areas during the past week. UNMEE conducted 599 ground and 25 air reconnaissance patrols throughout the Area of Responsibility (AOR).

In all sectors, UNMEE peacekeepers continued to provide medical assistance to the local population, along with supplies of bulk water to civilian communities in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and the Adjacent Areas. Approximately 259,500 litres of water was supplied to civilian communities during the past week.

Mine Action:

During the week, the Bangladesh Engineering Company, operating in Sector West, probed manually and by Mine Detection Dog Team (MDDT) a total area of 6,350 square metres in the area of Dedilala and 7,800 square metres in the Karkesha area.

The Kenyan Humanitarian De-mining Company, also working in Sector West, manually proved a total area of 52,427 square metres in the Grat Mariam minefield.

MECHEM (the civilian contractor) continued its de-mining operations, and manually cleared an area of 66.5 kilometers along the tracks, in the general area of Om Hajer.


The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) has approved a two-month secondment to Afghanistan for the Programme Manager of the UNMEE MACC, Phil Lewis, beginning 17 July 2005. The MACC Programme Manager will be conducting a review of the Afghanistan Project Implementation Facility (APIF) programmes (consisting of some 25 projects of the United Nations Office for Project Services-UNOPS) throughout Afghanistan. His role will be to recommend rationalisation and improvements in the efficiency of the wide range of UNOPS projects in the country.

UNMEE's Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG), Mr. Joel Adechi, visited the MACC on Monday 11 July 2005. The MACC Programme Manager gave the DSRSG a complete tour of the MACC, as well as a comprehensive briefing on the MACC mandate and its current operations.

The MACC has reported that an unexploded ordnance (UXO) incident occurred on Monday, 11 July 2005 in the Tselim Kelay area in Sector West. Reportedly, the incident involved a fourteen-year old boy who tampered with a UXO. Judging by the injuries of the victim and recent incidents in the same area, it is presumed that the UXO was a fuse. The MACC field staff have been tasked to carry out a preliminary investigation into the incident to determine the facts.

Meeting and Visits.

This week The Force Commander Major General Rajender Singh visited posts in Sector Centre, while the Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Abraham Wambugu visited Adi Teclay and Sheshebit in Sector West.


The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Joel Adechi on Tuesday, 12 July 2005, attended the weekly Heads of Agency meeting of the UN Country Team in Asmara at which the issue of demining for humanitarian and development purposes was discussed. The meeting also discussed the postponement of the visit of Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa. A tentative date for his visit has been suggested as 21-28 August 2005.

Questions and Answers

There was a very poor turn out of journalists as has been the case in recent weeks and there were no questions asked on either side. One journalist on the Addis Ababa side suggested holding the Briefings during this transition period in Ethiopia every two weeks.

For further enquires please contact:

Gail Bindley-Taylor-Sainte, Spokeswoman and Chief, Public Information Office or UNMEE Headquarters Asmara, Telephone: 291-1-150411- extension 6017

or our tie-line in New York: 00-1-212-963-3779-Ext 6017or UNMEE Headquarters Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-1-726895 extension 7045.

UNMEE Website: