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Security Council urges political dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea

7 January Expressing concern about the lack of progress in marking a boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the United Nations Security Council today called on the two Horn of Africa governments to establish a broad political dialogue that would help to improve their relations.

In a statement to the press, this month's Council President, Ambassador Heraldo Muoz of Chile, voiced support for Secretary-General Kofi Annan's intention to "consider additional measures to move demarcation and the peace process forward and help the parties overcome their differences, in particular through good offices."

The Council President called on both sides to "respond constructively" to the Secretary-General's proposals.

Council members also expressed concern at Eritrea's recent tightening of restrictions on the movements of the UN peacekeeping mission in the area (UNMEE) and at the administrative difficulties imposed by both sides, which Mr. Muoz said "unnecessarily complicate the work of UNMEE staff."

The statement urged the parties to provide full support to UNMEE and to facilitate its unrestricted movement throughout the mission area.

Ambassador Muoz also repeated an earlier appeal for the establishment of a high-level route for UNMEE flights between the two capitals "as a gesture of goodwill."

The Council President made his comments to journalists after the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Hdi Annabi, briefed the members behind closed doors on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which for two years fought a bitter war that ended in June 2000.

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