UN establishes buffer zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The UN Thursday announced the establishment of a 25-km wide temporary security zone (TSZ) separating Ethiopian and Eritrean forces along their common border, to enable peacekeepers monitor a cease-fire the two parties agreed in June last year.
In a statement, the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said the buffer zone was set up Wednesday after Eritrea informed it two days earlier of completing the repositioning of its armed forces out of the proposed TSZ.
"The establishment of the TSZ is a milestone in the peace process as stated in the agreement on cessation of hostilities," the release said, adding that the agreement "allows for the immediate restoration of civil administration and the return of internally displaced persons in the areas of the TSZ.
" UNMEE noted that the establishment of the TSZ was particularly urgent "given the impending rainy season and the need to reconnect existing villages and communities to their administrative support.
" It stated further that the setting up the TSZ marked "the formal separation" of the forces of the two countries, describing it as the "penultimate step" in the resolution of their border conflict and a precondition to the implementation of the full peace agreement both sides reached last December in Algeria.
The release expressed regret that Ethiopia did not communicate to UNMEE the full nature of its redeployment plans in the Irob area about 30 km south-east of the Ethiopian border town of Zalambessa, on which Eritrea lays claim.
UNMEE, however, said that it had no other option but to adjust the southern boundary of the TSZ, expecting to reach agreement on the "clarification of the deployment lines provided by Ethiopia and to gain a more accurate understanding of the differences between the parties in specific localities.

19 april 2001 20:27:00

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