Temporary relocation of UNMEE begins

6 Jun 2008

Temporary relocation of UNMEE begins

14 February New York: A temporary relocation of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) from Eritrea to sites on the Ethiopian side of the border, has begun. The relocation was announced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today

because of fuel restrictions imposed by the Government in Asmara. Mr. Ban said in a statement that he regretted that the relocation had become necessary despite a letter he addressed to President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea on 21 January "seeking his urgent intervention to resolve the situation."

Asmara cut off diesel fuel supplies to UNMEE last December, paralyzing the mission. Its advance units started moving by road on 11 February, while UNMEE's main body began its relocation earlier today. So far, some of the mission's convoys have been able to cross into Ethiopia without difficulty, while others have been stopped.

Yesterday, the UN Secretariat held talks with Eritrea's Permanent Representative regarding the relocation process.

UNMEE is also conferring with the country's authorities so that appropriate instructions are issued to Eritrean troops in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and officials at crossing points to ensure the smooth movement of UN personnel and equipment.