Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/SC/1263*
      19 September 2000
     Security Council Authorizes 4,200 Troops for Ethiopia-Eritrea Mission
    Adopting Resolution 1320 (2000) Unanimously

     NEW YORK, 15 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning authorized the deployment of up to 4,200 troops, including 220 military observers, for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).  It also mandated the mission until March 2001.

     It did this by unanimously adopting resolution 1320 (2000).  By other terms in the resolution, the Mission's mandate will be to:

    Monitor the cessation of hostilities;

    Assist in ensuring the observance of the security commitments agreed by the parties to the conflict;

    Monitor and verify the redeployment of Ethiopian troops from positions taken after 6 February 1999 which were not under Ethiopian administration before 6 May 1998;

    Monitor the positions of Ethiopian forces once deployed;

    Simultaneously monitor the positions of Eritrean forces that are to be redeployed in order to remain at a distance of 25 kilometres from positions to which Ethiopian forces shall redeploy;

    Monitor the temporary security zone (TSZ) to assist in ensuring compliance with the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities signed on 18 June;

    Chair the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) to be established by the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in accordance with the Agreement;

    Coordinate and provide technical assistance for humanitarian mine action activities in the TSZ and areas adjacent to it; Coordinate the Mission's activities in the TSZ and areas adjacent to it with humanitarian and human rights activities of the United Nations and other organizations in the area.

    By other terms of the text, the Council called on the parties to take whatever action was necessary to ensure UNMEE's access, safety and freedom of movement; to provide it with the necessary assistance, support and protection; and to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all those in need. 

    The Council emphasized that the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities links the termination of the Mission with the completion of the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border.

    It further urged the parties to proceed immediately with demining, in order to ensure the safe access of United Nations and associated personnel to the areas being monitored.

    Both parties were also called on to continue negotiations and conclude without delay a comprehensive and final peace settlement.

    The meeting began at 12:52 p.m. and adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

    Text of resolution 1320 (2000)

     “The Security Council,

    “Recalling its resolutions 1298 (2000) of 17 May 2000 and 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000, and all previous resolutions and statements of its President pertaining to the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict,

     “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ethiopia and Eritrea,

     “Further reaffirming the need for both parties to fulfil all their obligations under international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law,

     “Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 49/59 of 9 December 1994,

     “Expressing its strong support for the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of the State of Eritrea (S/2000/601), and the official communications by each Government (S/2000/627 and S/2000/612) requesting United Nations assistance in the implementation of this Agreement,

     “Stressing its commitment to work in coordination with the Organization of African Unity and the parties to implement fully the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, while underlining that its successful implementation rests first and foremost on the will of the parties to the Agreement,

     “Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 9 August 2000 (S/2000/785),

     “Recalling its resolution 1312 (2000) of 31 July 2000, which established the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE),

    “1. Calls on the parties to fulfil all their obligations under international law, including the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities;

    “2. Authorizes the deployment within UNMEE of up to 4,200 troops, including up to 220 military observers, until 15 March 2001, with a mandate to:

    “(a) Monitor the cessation of hostilities;

    “(b) Assist, as appropriate, in ensuring the observance of the security commitments agreed by the parties;

    “(c) Monitor and verify the redeployment of Ethiopian troops from positions taken after 6 February 1999 which were not under Ethiopian administration before 6 May 1998;

    “(d) Monitor the positions of Ethiopian forces once redeployed;

    “(e) Simultaneously, monitor the positions of Eritrean forces that are to redeploy in order to remain at a distance of 25 kilometres from positions to which Ethiopian forces shall redeploy;

    “(f) Monitor the temporary security zone (TSZ) to assist in ensuring compliance with the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities;

    “(g) Chair the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) to be established by the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity in accordance with the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities;

    “(h) Coordinate and provide technical assistance for humanitarian mine action activities in the TSZ and areas adjacent to it;

    “(i) Coordinate the Mission’s activities in the TSZ and areas adjacent to it with humanitarian and human rights activities of the United Nations and other organizations in those areas;

    “3. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to appoint a special representative who will be responsible for all aspects of the United Nations work in fulfilment of the mandate of UNMEE;

    “4. Requests the Secretary-General to coordinate with the Organization of African Unity in the implementation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities;

    “5. Calls on the parties to take whatever action may be necessary to ensure UNMEE’s access, safety and freedom of movement, and to provide the assistance, support and protection required for the performance of its mandate in all areas of its operation deemed necessary by the Secretary-General;

    “6. Requests the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea to conclude, as necessary, status-of-forces agreements with the Secretary-General within 30 days of adoption of this resolution, and recalls that pending the conclusions of such agreements, the model status-of-forces agreement of 9 October 1990 (A/45/594) should apply provisionally;

    “7. Urges the parties to proceed immediately with demining, in order to ensure safe access of United Nations and associated personnel to the areas being monitored, drawing on United Nations technical assistance as needed;

    “8. Calls on the parties to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all those in need;

    “9. Further calls on all parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross;

    “10. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations and further to the provisions of paragraph 5 of its resolution 1312 (2000), decides that the measures imposed by paragraph 6 of its resolution 1298 (2000) shall not apply to the sale and supply of:

    “(a) Arms and related matériel for the sole use in Ethiopia or Eritrea of the United Nations, and

    “(b) Equipment and related matériel, including technical assistance and training, for use solely for demining within Ethiopia or Eritrea under the auspices of the United Nations Mine Action Service;

    “11. Encourages all States and international organizations to assist and participate in the longer-term tasks of reconstruction and development, as well as in the economic and social recovery of Ethiopia and Eritrea;

    “12. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely and regularly informed of progress towards the implementation of this resolution;

    “13. Emphasizes that the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities links the termination of the United Nations peacekeeping mission with the completion of the process of delimitation and demarcation of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, and requests the Secretary-General to provide regular updates on the status of this issue;

    “14. Calls on the parties to continue negotiations and conclude without delay a comprehensive and final peace settlement;

    “15. Decides that the Council, in considering the renewal of the mandate of UNMEE, will take into account whether the parties have made adequate progress as called for in paragraph 13 and 14 above;

    “16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

    Report of Secretary-General

     When the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea (document S/2000/785), submitted in accordance with Council resolution 1312 (2000) of 31 July which authorized the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

    It reports the findings of a reconnaissance mission to the region which discussed, with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the parties, ways the United Nations might help in the implementation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, which was signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea in Algiers on 18 June [see document S/2000/601].  It also provides a concept of operations and recommendations for the expansion of UNMEE, and an update on political and humanitarian developments.

    The Secretary-General notes that deployment of military observers, administrative support and other civilian personnel authorized under Council resolution 1312 (2000) will begin shortly.  He proposes an expanded mandate that would have the Mission monitor the cessation of hostilities, assist in ensuring the observance of the security commitments agreed by the parties, monitor and verify the redeployment of Ethiopian forces from those positions taken after 6 February 1999 which were not under Ethiopian administration before 6 May 1998, monitor their positions once redeployed, and monitor Eritrean forces, which are to remain 25 kilometres from the redeployed Ethiopian forces. 

    The Mission would also monitor the temporary security zone, chair the Military Coordination Commission authorized in the agreement, coordinate and provide assistance for mine action activities in and around the temporary security zone, and coordinate the Mission's activities with humanitarian activities in that area.

    The report states that given the difficult terrain and weather conditions, the significant length of the temporary security zone, and the requirement that the parties be confident that the area is effectively monitored, a combination of military observers and formed troops would be required to carry out the Mission's task. 

    The Secretary-General estimates that UNMEE will require 4,200 military personnel, made up of 220 military observers, three infantry battalions and the necessary support units.  They would be deployed in three sectors:  central (headquartered in Adigrat); west (headquartered in Barentu); and east (headquartered in Assab).  Each sector would have a military observer group and one infantry battalion. 

    The Mission, which would be headed by a special representative of the Secretary-General, would also have a political component, a public information component, a mine action component and a civil/military coordination centre.  It would maintain offices in Asmara and Addis Ababa, with regional offices to be established at Mendefera in Eritrea and Mekele in Ethiopia.  The main support base would be in Asmara, because of that city's proximity to UNMEE's area of operations.

    The Secretary-General advises the Mission would be deployed in three phases, with phase one -- the deployment of liaison officers in Addis Ababa and Asmara -- already under way.  Phase two would involve the deployment of those personnel mandated under resolution 1312 (2000), including up to 100 military observers and support staff.  The special representative and the force commander would be appointed during this phase.  Phase three, pending Security Council authorization, would be deployment of the full peacekeeping operation. 

    Freedom of movement will be essential for the successful implementation of the mandate, the report continues.  The parties have agreed that UNMEE would have access to the military establishments of both parties at all levels from the capitals to the field.  Freedom of movement must also include free and direct land and air passage across the lines of the temporary security zone.  Eritrea is to restore civilian administration, including police and local militia, in the temporary security zone.

    The presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance poses a significant risk throughout the conflict area, the report notes.  In concert with the peacekeeping operation, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is preparing a mine action assistance programme to help mitigate the threat landmines and unexploded ordnance pose.

    The Secretary-General concludes that, to date, the parties have shown the commitment required to ensure the implementation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities.  He also notes that it is only the parties themselves who can bring lasting peace to their countries.

    Concerning the humanitarian situation, the report notes that, as of June, in Eritrea there are more than 1.1 million internally-displaced and war-affected people, placing a tremendous burden on socio-economic mechanisms.  Furthermore, 94,000 Eritreans have sought refuge in the Sudan since May 2000.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Governments of the Sudan and Eritrea signed a tripartite agreement on 4 July for the voluntary repatriation of Eritrean refugees.  Immediate return for many is impossible as a result of the destruction of homes, basic infrastructure, loss of crops and household assets, lack of social services and the presence of landmines.

    Only 39.2 per cent of the January 2000 United Nations country team appeal was funded as of 1 July.  The prospect that relief food stocks will run out by September is a cause of major concern, according to the report. 

    In Ethiopia, according to the report, the severe drought has caused significant migrations, increased malnutrition, large livestock losses, a higher incidence of diseases and an increase in the overall vulnerability of the rural population.  As of early July, the Government of Ethiopia estimated that over 10 million people were in need of emergency food assistance.

    The report notes that the renewed hostilities in May 2000 generated three new categories of vulnerable people in need of humanitarian assistance: Ethiopian nationals separated from their homes in Ethiopia during the war who moved to displaced persons camps in Eritrea; Ethiopian nationals resident in Eritrea prior to May 2000 who are being repatriated to Tigray; and Eritrean and other third-country nationals who have sought asylum in Ethiopia as refugees.
    ______________________________

    * Reissued for technical reasons.
     

    * * * * *