UN ends Ethiopia-Eritrea peacekeeping mission

July 31st, 2008 - 1:13 am ICT by IANS  

New York, July 30 (DPA) The UN Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to terminate the mission of military observers at a disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The 15-nation council decided to entirely withdraw the mission, which since last year had begun relocating their personnel out of a temporary security zone after Eritrea increasingly limited the peacekeepers’ movements with measures such as cutting off petroleum for their transportation.

The force was sent in 2000 following a brief summer war over part of the disputed border. Efforts to re-demarcate the border were rejected by both sides.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he regretted the decision by both countries for a follow-up UN presence. But he welcomed the council’s decision to end the mission’s mandate, which originally was to police a ceasefire agreement and monitor the zone.

Ban said in a statement that he hopes the two countries would be able “to break the current stalemate and create conditions necessary for the normalization of their relations, which is key to peace and stability in the region”.

Ban offered support if the two sides decided to seek UN help in implementing the Algiers agreements regarding the ceasefire and start a dialogue to normalize ties.

The council said in its adopted resolution that both Ethiopia and Eritrea should show maximum restraint and refrain use of force to resolve their dispute. It said the Algiers agreements remain the basis for normalising relations and promoting lasting peace.

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