United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has outlined options for the future of the U.N. mission that watches the tense Eritrean-Ethiopian border.
The Secretary General’s spokesperson Yves Sorokobi said unless the two host countries give the UN a platform to monitor peace and security in the region, the world body’s hands are tied. “It is up to the nations there—Ethiopia and Eritrea to let us play a role,” he said.
UN military observers have noticed military buildups along the disputed borderline. Mr. Sorokobi says there are plenty of indications that make people nervous about the possibility of war. “Our military observers have also seen many signs of trench building activities and warfare positioning.”
U.N. officials withdrew most of the peacekeepers on the Eritrean side of the border in March claiming Eritrea imposed fuel restrictions on the force.
In a special report to the U.N. Security Council (released Friday), Mr. Ban says the U.N. could resume the mission unchanged as long as Eritrea lifts all restrictions.
Eritrea has said it would not welcome Mr. Ban's first option, which requires that Eritrea return to providing fuel to the peacekeepers.
Mr. Ban says other options include ending the mission, deploying a small observer mission only to the border area, or setting up liaison offices in the Eritrean and Ethiopian capitals to help the two sides resolve their differences.
The two countries are at odds over a border dispute that sparked a two-year war from 1998 to 2000. Mr. Ban warns that ending the U.N. mission could result in a return to open conflict.
The mandate of the U.N. mission expires on July 31st. Mr. Ban says he will submit another report to the U.N. Security Council before then detailing his consultations with all the parties.