The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, UNMEE, is in the final stages of relocating its peacekeeping mission from Eritrea to Ethiopia—vacating a 25-kilometer buffer zone it monitored along the thousand-kilometer long border.
The UN has instructed its 1200 peacekeeping troops and support staff to gather in the Eritrean capital Asmara. Questions are: how will the UN facilitate the relocation when Eritrea keeps blocking movement of troops into Ethiopia. VOA’s Henok Fente talked to Yves Sorokobi, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon.
The UN Security Council on February 15 criticized the Eritrean government for not cooperating with the UN mission. The UN says Eritrea has blocked fuel supplies to the mission, severely limiting the movement of its peacekeepers along the border. The UN statement charges that Eritrea “created a situation which a temporary relocation of personnel and equipment from Eritrea has been rendered inevitable.”
A convoy of six trucks of UN peacekeepers managed to cross the Ethiopian border, but a good portion of the army was stopped at the border by Eritrean forces and later asked to turn back. (Scroll up and click on the audio link to listen to the original English interview. Tune to our Amharic broadcast tomorrow for the translated material.)