Global Policy Forum

UN Force Commander Reports Good Cooperation

November 9, 2000

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is receiving good cooperation from the two neighboring countries, U.N. officials said here Thursday.

The commander of the U.N. force, Major-General Patrick Cammaert, predicted a speedy deployment of the UNMEE's 4,000 troops and more than 200 military observers who are being sent to the mission area from 43 countries. "All are committed to the task ahead and ready to work -- to work with the people from Ethiopia and Eritrea with the aim to bring a lasting peace in this region," he said.

The U.N. officials quoted the force commander as saying in Asmara, capital of Eritrea, Thursday that the need to open land and air corridors for the U.N. peacekeeping force was "a matter of building confidence and trust between the two parties." The commander said he would discuss the issue with them and expressed confidence that "will be solved in due time."

Describing the work of reconnaissance teams currently deployed in both countries to prepare for the arrival of battalions in the coming months, he said that the military observers who had already taken up forward positions "are receiving good cooperation from both sides." Lauding the two countries for their constructive approach to the issue of the temporary security zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea which the United Nations is mandated to set up and monitor, Cammaert voiced his confidence that all outstanding issues would be resolved.

Cammaert, chief of staff of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, was appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on October 30 to head a 4,200-strong U.N. peacekeeping force of the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a cease-fire agreement in Algeria on June 18 to halt a war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives and uprooted more than a million people. Eritrea had been an Ethiopian province until 1993, when it became independent with Ethiopian support. Fighting first broke out along the l,000-kilometer border in 1998 and flared up again in May this year.

More Information on Ethiopia and Eritrea


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