(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

UN urges sides to ensure smooth border demarcation

[Ethiopia] SRSG Legwaila Joseph Legwaila as he officially opened
the outreach centre in Addis Ababa.

The UN Security Council has called on Eritrea and Ethiopia to ensure the smooth demarcation of their common border, due to take place this year.

In a statement, members urged both countries to cooperate fully with the UN mission in the region (UNMEE) and the independent Boundary Commission. The two countries were also urged to hold talks with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, regarding any issues that could arise during the demarcation process.

Members also expressed concern about the likely shortfall in the Trust Fund for the Delimitation and Demarcation of the Border once demarcation begins, and called on the international community to contribute urgently to the Fund.

"They [members] called on both parties to resolve all other outstanding issues, including the establishment of a direct high-altitude air corridor between the two capitals," the statement said.

The Council also expressed concern about the drought in Ethiopia and Eritrea and its implications for the peace process.

Meanwhile, Eritrea's ambassador to the UN, Ahmed Tahir Baduri, accused Ethiopia of "defying" orders by the Boundary Commission.

He recalled that the Boundary Commission, in an order dated 17 July 2002, called on Ethiopia to remove settlers who had moved into Eritrean territory. However, this had not happened, he said.

"Ethiopia's continuing defiance of the Boundary Commission should not be tolerated," Baduri said in a letter to the Security Council.

"Ethiopia has made it abundantly clear that it will continue to disregard the legitimate orders and determinations of the Boundary Commission, so long as the international community continues to tolerate it," he said.

"Eritrea calls on the Security Council immediately to take note of Ethiopia's defiance and to meet that defiance with appropriate measures."

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