Global Policy Forum

UN Mission Protests Restrictions On Peacekeepers'

UN Press Release
May 6, 2001

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has lodged a further protest with the Government of Eritrea against restrictions to the mission's guaranteed freedom of movement, following an incident on 3 May where Eritrean forces stopped an UNMEE logistics convoy.

The UNMEE logistics convoy was stopped at a checkpoint manned by the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) on the main supply road from Mendefera to Tsorena. This is a main access route to the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), which UNMEE is charged with monitoring. The EDF soldiers fired warning shots into the air to make the convoy turn around.

Ethiopia and Eritrea both guaranteed UNMEE complete freedom of movement throughout their territories when they first asked the UN to create the peacekeeping mission in the June 2000 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Specifically, the two Governments agreed to guarantee "the free movement and access of the Peacekeeping Mission and its supplies as required through the territories of the Parties."

Despite this guarantee, however, UNMEE continues to face obstacles to its freedom of movement in Eritrea in terms of both ground and air access with regard to the TSZ and especially areas adjacent to it.

Since 26 February, UNMEE has lodged 51 separate protests regarding UNMEE's freedom of movement was restricted or denied in the mission's area of operations. To address the situation, UNMEE has engaged in negotiations at all levels, but continues to find that the guarantees provided to the mission are not consistently honoured on the ground.

UNMEE's complete freedom of movement is critical to the mission's ability to carry out its mandate of monitoring the parties' commitments. In the coming days, the head of UNMEE and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, will be briefing the UN Security Council on the mission's concerns about restrictions on freedom of movement and other critical matters.

More Information on Ethiopia and Eritrea
More Information on Peacekeeping


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.