14 September 2005
Security Council Extends Mission in Ethiopia-Eritrea until 15 March 2006, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1622 (2005)
NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) -- Noting with deep concern the continuing high concentration of troops in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission there (UNMEE) until 15 March 2006 and approved a reconfiguration of its military component, including an increase by 10 of the number of military observers.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1622 (2005), the Council also approved the Mission's assistance to the parties in the mine action sector, as recommended by the Secretary-General in paragraphs 11 and 42 of the Secretary-General's report (document S/2005/553).
The Council called on both parties to refrain from any action which might escalate tension, and it urged them to give serious consideration to returning to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment and to refrain from any threat of use of force against each other.
It also called on the parties to implement completely and without further delay the 2002 delimitation decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously.
In a related provision, members called on Ethiopia to accept fully the Boundary Commission's decision and to enable, without preconditions, the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly.
Further to the text, the Council called on both parties to cooperate fully and expeditiously with UNMEE, to ensure security of all staff, and to remove immediately and unconditionally all restrictions on and impediments to the work and full and free movement of UNMEE and its staff.
In that regard, it strongly urged Eritrea to remove restrictions on UNMEE military police in Asmara and it urged it to take immediate steps, in consultation with UNMEE, towards implementing the direct United Nations flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara and to reopen the Asmara to Barentu road to UNMEE traffic.
Expressing its concern at the ongoing food insecurity in Ethiopia and Eritrea and its potential to create greater instability, the Council called on Member States to continue to provide generous support for humanitarian and development activities and on Eritrea to lift all restrictions imposed on the operations of aid organizations.
The Council requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to achieve actual compliance with UNMEE with the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. It asked him to take all necessary action in accordance with the Secretary-General's Bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (document ST/SGB/2003/13).
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1622 (2005) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming all its previous resolutions and statements pertaining to the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the requirements contained therein, including in particular resolution 1586 (2005) of 14 March 2005,
"Stressing its unwavering commitment to the peace process, including through the role played by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and to the full and expeditious implementation of the Comprehensive peace agreement signed by the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea (hereinafter referred to as "the parties") on 12 December 2000 and the preceding Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities of 18 June 2000 (S/2000/1183 and S/2000/601, respectively, hereinafter referred to as the "Algiers Agreements"), and the delimitation decision by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission of 13 April 2002 (S/2002/423), embraced by the parties as final and binding in accordance with the Algiers Agreements,
"Stressing that lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as in the region cannot be achieved without the full demarcation of the border between the parties,
"Deeply concerned with the continued lack of progress in the implementation of the final and binding decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, and with Ethiopia's ongoing rejection of significant parts of the Boundary Commission's decision,
"Noting with deep concern the continuing high concentration of troops in the areas adjacent to the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ),
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General (S/2005/553) and welcoming the observations made therein,
"Noting possible options to resolve the stalemate in the peace process include, when appropriate, a visit to Ethiopia and Eritrea, as suggested by the Secretary-General in paragraph 38 of his report, as well as a meeting of the witnesses to the signature of the Algiers Agreement,
"Welcoming action taken by UNMEE to address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly the efforts towards prevention through training; and also the action taken to address HIV and AIDS,
"Decides to extend the mandate of UNMEE until 15 March 2006;
"Approves the reconfiguration of UNMEE's military component, including an increase in the number of military observers by ten, within the existing overall mandated strength of UNMEE; and the assistance to the parties in the mine action sector, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his report in paragraphs 11 and 42;
"Calls on both parties to refrain from any action which may lead to an escalation of the tension, and in this respect urges both parties to give serious consideration to returning to the 16 December 2004 levels of deployment and more generally, to refrain from any threat of use of force against each other;
"Reaffirms that Ethiopia and Eritrea have the primary responsibility for the implementation of the Algiers Agreements and the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, by making full use of the existing framework of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission;
"Calls upon Ethiopia to accept fully the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and to enable, without preconditions, the Commission to demarcate the border completely and promptly,
"Calls also on the parties to implement completely and without further delay the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and to create the necessary conditions for demarcation to proceed expeditiously;
"Takes note of the continuing improvement in the climate of cooperation between UNMEE and the parties and calls on both parties to cooperate fully and expeditiously with UNMEE in the implementation of its mandate, to ensure the security of all UNMEE staff, and to remove immediately and unconditionally all restrictions on and impediments to the work and to the full and free movement of UNMEE and its staff; also in this regard strongly urges Eritrea to remove the restrictions on UNMEE military police in Asmara;
"Urges Eritrea to take immediate steps, in consultation with UNMEE, towards implementing the direct United Nations flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara and to reopen the Asmara to Barentu road to UNMEE traffic;
"Calls upon both parties to achieve a full normalization of their relationship, including through political dialogue between them for the adoption of further confidence-building measures and to consolidate progress achieved so far;
"Expresses its concern at the ongoing food insecurity in Ethiopia and Eritrea and its potential to create greater instability and calls on Member States to continue to provide generous support for both humanitarian and development activities to improve food security in Ethiopia and Eritrea;
"Calls on Eritrea to lift all restrictions imposed on the operations of aid organizations, to enable them to carry out their humanitarian activities;
"Decides to continue monitoring closely the steps taken by the parties in the implementation of their commitments under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and under the Algiers Agreements, including through the Boundary Commission, and to review any implications for UNMEE;
"Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to achieve actual compliance in UNMEE with the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, including the development of strategies and appropriate mechanisms to prevent, identify and respond to all forms of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, and the enhancement of training for personnel to prevent misconduct and ensure full compliance with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary action in accordance with the Secretary-General's Bulletin on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13) and to keep the Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including the conduct of pre-deployment awareness training, and take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
"Requests the Secretary-General to continue to monitor the situation closely, to review the Mission's mandate in the light of progress made in the peace process and changes made to UNMEE;
"Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
When the Council met this morning to consider the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea, it had before it the 30 August report of the Secretary-General updating the peace process (document S/2005/553), since his last report dated 20 June. The current report also describes the activities of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and recommends a further six-month extension of its mandate until 15 March 2006, with an increase in the authorized number of military observers by 10, to a total of 230, within the overall existing authorized strength of 3,404 military personnel.
The Secretary-General reiterates that the redeployment of troops of the Ethiopian Armed Forces and their continued presence closer to the southern boundary of the Temporary Security Zone, coupled with the underlying tension in the area, have generated a need for greater surveillance and observation along the border. The UNMEE believes that a reconfiguration of its military component was required. It could be achieved within the overall existing authorized strength. (This would include a reconstitution of a force reserve company of 50 troops, and a modest increase in the observation capacity, by 10 additional military observers. These arrangements should be complemented by an increase in the flying hours of the two existing military helicopters, for the purpose of air reconnaissance, in addition to their current operational activities.)
At the same time, the Secretary-General notes some decline in the number of incidents in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas during the reporting period. He commends the parties for safeguarding the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone and for their continuing commitment to the Agreement on Cessation of hostilities, signed in Algiers on 18 June 2000.
Noting that the protracted stalemate, however, is inherently destabilizing, the Secretary-General reiterates his strong appeal to the witnesses to the Algiers Agreements, especially those with influence on the parties, to pay a more concerted role in assisting the two countries to resolve the stalemate. He also renews his suggestion that the Security Council examine the appropriate timing and substance of a mission that it could undertake to Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Secretary-General, meanwhile, calls on the parties to live up to the Algiers Agreement, particularly its article 4, paragraph 15, in which it is stated that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Boundary Commission shall be final and binding. In his last report, he noted that the absence of dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea continues to be a missing element of the peace process. He re-emphasized the importance of dialogue without any preconditions between the parties as an integral part of ongoing efforts to resolve the existing stalemate and any other bilateral issue.
He also calls on the international community to spare no effort in bringing the parties together to engage in constructive dialogue aimed at moving the peace process forward and normalizing bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Once again, he reiterates that the two Governments have the primary responsibility to bring durable peace and security between their two countries. This is a responsibility of the Governments to their own peoples. The international community is ready to assist them in that endeavour.
Given the progress made in integrating demining operations in the Mission area, and in view of the difficulties facing the Eritrean national demining programme, as well as the fact that demining support to the Boundary Commission remains on hold, the Secretary-General also recommends that UNMEE assist the parties in continuing cooperation with other international partners in the mine action sector by providing humanitarian demining assistance in and around the Temporary Security Zone, technical advice and coordination.
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