The United Nations Security Council has expressed concern over the increasing difficulties the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is experiencing in its operations in the buffer zone between the two countries. In a press statement issued by Security Council President Richard Ryan, the Council called on both parties to engage in constructive dialogue to facilitate UNMEE's work. Of particular concern to the Council was the continued failure of both countries to open an air corridor between their capitals, Addis Ababa and Asmara. Last month the Council called on both parties to completely demilitarise the buffer zone, and expressed regret that despite the ongoing peace process the two sides remained terribly polarised and reluctant to engage in bilateral dialogue. The UNMEE mandate was extended last month until 15 March 2002, partly because of these continuing differences.