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UN may vote to end border dispute monitoring

Latest update : 2008-07-30

The UN Security Council will vote on a draft resoultion submitted by Belgium that would end the UN mission monitoring the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia.


Belgium on Tuesday presented a draft Security Council resolution that would end the UN mission monitoring the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
   
The text, which would terminate the mission's mandate when it expires on Thursday, would go for a vote before the 15-member council on Wednesday, said a Western diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.
   
The draft stresses that the termination is "without prejudice to Ethiopia and Eritrea's obligation under the (2000) Algiers agreements."
   
It calls on the two bitter Horn of Africa rivals "to show maximum restraint and refrain from any threat or use of force against each other and to avoid provocative military activities."
   
The text also directs UN chief Ban Ki-moon to further explore "with Ethiopia and Eritrea the possibility of a United Nations presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea in the context of the maintenance of international peace and security."
   
Last May, the council unanimously slammed Eritrea for cutting off diesel supplies to the UN mission, forcing it to pull out of the country.
   
Faced with Eritrea's fuel and other restrictions, Ban in April laid out several options to deal with the impasse.
   
These include the full withdrawal of the UN mission from the border area, or a less drastic option of deploying a "small observer mission" which would try to defuse tensions and serve as "the eyes and ears of the international community."
   
Under a 2000 Algiers peace deal which ended their two-year border war, Eritrea and Ethiopia pledged to accept as "final and binding" a verdict by the panel on their dispute.
   
The commission granted the flash point border town of Badme to Eritrea, but Ethiopia has refused to recognize it.
   
Asmara, which claims that the United Nations sides with Ethiopia in the dispute, has repeatedly accused its bigger and more powerful neighbor of bracing for a new war.
   
Addis Ababa has dismissed the charge as a bid by Eritrea to divert attention from its internal problems.

Date created : 2008-07-30

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