UNMEE in rapid drawdown phase
New York, 14 August 2008: Brigadier Patrick Davidson-Houston, Acting Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) told journalists at a UNHQ Press Conference in New York today that following the Security Council's termination of UNMEE's mandate on 30 July, the Mission was now in a phase of "extremely rapid" drawdown and termination of activities. Brigadier Davidson-Houston said the Jordanian contingent had left on Monday, a small Kenyan contingent was scheduled to leave tomorrow and most of the Indian contingent would leave around 21 August. He said the Uruguayan aviation contingent would leave at the beginning of September, and the last uniformed member of UNMEE was expected to be out of the region by the end of September.
Responding to questions, Brigadier Davidson-Houston said the Mission's withdrawal meant that it would no longer have a foot on the ground in either Ethiopia or Eritrea and thus would no longer be able to report and monitor the situation. No United Nations presence would be left in either country and all contingent-owned equipment was expected to be withdrawn from the area by mid-September. The removal of United Nations-owned equipment would take a little longer, he said. Some of it was beyond economic use and would be disposed of in-country. He said none of the equipment was of any military use.