Friday, November 25, 2005

U.N. Threatens Eritrea-Ethiopia

UPI -- The Security Council is threatening action against Eritrea and Ethiopia if they do not reverse their military build up.

The panel of 15 Wednesday unanimous approved a resolution on the two Horn of Africa countries demanding Eritrea without delay or preconditions, reverse its Oct. 4 decision to ban helicopter flights of the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea along with any other restrictions on their operations.

It also demanded Ethiopia accept the agreed-upon border Boundary Commission's final and binding decisions concerning demarcation of the border between the two countries and that both parties return to their December 2004 levels of troop deployment within 30 days, refraining from threats or the use of force. The two nations fought a bitter war from 1998 to 2000.

If either nation refuses to heed the council, the panel could impose sanctions.

Both the Security Council and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan have called on Eritrea to lift the flight ban, which has forced UNMEE to evacuate 18 of its posts in the Temporary Security Zone between the two countries, and endangered peacekeepers needing evacuation for medical treatment.

Annan has warned the situation could lead to another round of "devastating hostilities," and while calling for lifting the Eritrean ban, he has also urged the council to address the underlying causes of the stalemate in the peace process between the two countries, including Ethiopia's opposition to the Boundary Commission's decisions.

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