UNMEE operations hinge on Eritrean fuel restrictions
New York, 4 February: In a letter to the Security Council on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that fuel stocks for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) would run out within days if Eritrean fuel restrictions were not lifted.
Mr. Ban said that without additional fuel the Mission would have only the strategic reserves intended exclusively for emergency evacuation purposes.
The Secretary-General said that if the Eritrean authorities do not reinstate the fuel supplies by 6 February, he will be compelled to instruct UNMEE to begin relocating the mission personnel and equipment from Eritrea, to avoid a total immobilization of the Mission and endangering the safety and security of UN personnel.
The 15-member Security Council body today also voiced its concern that the fuel restrictions have not yet been lifted. In a statement read to the press by Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the rotating presidency this month, the Council reiterated its demand that Eritrea "forthwith and without preconditions lifts its restrictions on fuel deliveries so that UNMEE be in a position to execute its extended mandate."
The Council also requested Eritrea to facilitate a UN technical assessment mission which is due to depart for the region tomorrow.