Eritrea's president has rejected a plea by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to lift a ban on flights by U.N. peacekeeping helicopters along the country's disputed border with Ethiopia.
In a letter, President Isaias Afwerki said that Mr. Annan lacks the "humanitarian high ground on matters of law, the rule of law and humanitarian issues." Mr. Annan had sent a letter to President Isaias saying the ban, imposed earlier this month, is severely inhibiting the U.N. peacekeepers' mission.
The U.N. mission says the unexplained restriction on helicopter flights, as well as Eritrea's ban on night patrols by U.N vehicles, has forced it to scale back its outposts by nearly half. U.N. peacekeepers have been monitoring the frontier between Ethiopia and Eritrea since the two countries ended a border war in 2000.