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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Friday 25 November 2005

ERITREA: Government criticises Security Council resolution

ASMARA, 25 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - The Eritrean government has sharply criticised the latest UN Security Council resolution on the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia, describing it as "deplorable" and "lopsided".

"The Security Council has adopted another deplorable resolution on the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia," said a statement issued on Thursday by the Eritrean Foreign Ministry in the capital, Asmara.

"This lopsided resolution underscores one glaring fact: it is not international law and the Charter of the United Nations that govern the conduct of the Security Council but sheer power politics and the narrow interests of major powers," it added.

The statement listed several cases of alleged violations of the Algiers peace agreement by Ethiopia.

The Council had, in a unanimously adopted resolution on Wednesday, threatened to take action, including sanctions, against Ethiopia and Eritrea if the two neighbours continued to engage in activities that aggravated their ongoing border dispute.

It deplored Eritrea's restrictions on the freedom of movement of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and demanded that Asmara immediately reverse its 5 October decision to ban UNMEE helicopter flights.

Noting the high concentration of troops on both sides of the Temporary Security Zone, the Council called on the two nations to refrain from any threat or use of force against each other and to immediately return to the 16 December 2004 deployment levels.

The Eritrean government maintained, however, that Ethiopia had violated the peace agreement and the UN Charter in July 2002 by establishing unlawful settlements in the sovereign Eritrean territory of Dembe Mengul.

"This gross breach of the agreement was fully ascertained by an independent fact-finding mission," it noted, adding that the report of the mission was submitted to the Security Council, which passed a resolution asking Ethiopia to dismantle the settlements within 30 days.

"In what was to become a predictable pattern, Ethiopia refused to comply with the terms of Resolution 1430 while the Security Council failed to take remedial action," it said.

In its resolution on Wednesday, the Council urged the two nations to break the stalemate on the implementation of the peace agreement through diplomatic efforts and asked the Secretary-General to monitor the parties' compliance with its demands and submit a report within 40 days.

The Council demanded that Ethiopia accept fully and without further delay the binding decision of the boundary commission and immediately take concrete steps to enable, without preconditions, the commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly.

UNMEE has estimated that Eritrea's ban on helicopter flights had cut its capacity to monitor the buffer zone between the two countries by more than half. Almost all night patrols were curtailed and restrictions placed on vehicle and foot patrols.

[ENDS]

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005



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