Last Peacekeepers Leave UNMEE

Departing peacekeepers of the Indian Batallion with head of UNMEE, Azouz Ennifar, following a farewell ceremony and presentations in Mekelle. (Photo: Ian Steele)

15 Oct 2008

Last Peacekeepers Leave UNMEE

UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea is withdrawn

On 30 July 2008, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1827 terminating the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) with effect from the following day. The Council decision came in response to crippling restrictions imposed by Eritrea on UNMEE, as well as the cutting off of fuel supplies – making it impossible for the operation to continue carrying out its mandated tasks, and putting at risk the safety and security of UN personnel.


At the same time, resolution 1827 called on the two Horn of Africa countries "to show maximum restraint and refrain from any threat or use of force against each other and to avoid provocative military activities".


Addis Ababa, 15 October 2008: Last peacekeepers leave mission.

The last peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) returned home at the weekend. Sixty personnel from the rear party of the Indian Battalion (INDBATT V11) flew out of the northern Ethiopian town of Mekelle on Sunday following a farewell ceremony and presentations by Tsegay Berhe, President of the Regional State of Tigray. The peacekeeping troops had been based in the nearby town of Adigrat. Fifteen members of a remaining INDBATT Guard Contingent are expected to leave the country at the end of this week.
President Berhe, thanked UNMEE for its eight-year-long peacekeeping presence on the border and for the humanitarian activities that successive military battalions extended to adjacent communities. The UN Security Council decided not to renew UNMEE's mandate when it expired on 30 July.

The Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General, Azouz Ennifar, also thanked the troops and those who preceded them. "This was a difficult mission but you can go home knowing that you accomplished what you were sent to do," he said. "The parties remained at peace while UN military observers were stationed in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas."

Mr. Ennifar stressed that the Mission had fulfilled its mandate from the Security Council. "UNMEE's job was to ensure that the parties respected the ceasefire and to support them when they were ready to demarcate their border," he said. "The Secretary General has made it clear to the parties that his good offices remain available to them."