Peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea progressing steadily Annan reports

Despite occasional difficulties and delays, the peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea has progressed steadily, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report, voicing his hope that the parties will continue their cooperation with the UN mission during the next crucial phase of delineating the border between the two countries.In his latest report to the Security Council on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Secretary-General recalls the progress made since a ceasefire agreement was signed in June 2000, as exemplified by the recent release by Ethiopia of all remaining Eritrean prisoners of war. He adds that he is also encouraged by the fact that there have been no ceasefire violations since the establishment of the Temporary Security Zone.“I hope that these achievements, which are a credit to the parties, will be carried forward,” the Secretary-General writes, noting that the peace process is now about to enter the crucial phase of border demarcation, which, inevitably, has legal, humanitarian and human rights implications.“These will require immediate attention for the sake of the people who will be affected by the transfer of territorial control,” Mr. Annan stresses. “In this connection, it is essential that the two parties engage in discussions with my Special Representative [Legwaila Joseph Legwaila] to address any issues that might arise with a view to reaching agreement on their resolution.”The period ahead will also require that the two parties, as well as the Boundary Commission and the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), continue to enjoy the full political and financial support of the international community, the Secretary-General says. He appeals for more contributions to the Trust Fund for the Delimitation and Demarcation of the Border in order to help the conclusion of the demarcation process in accordance with the Commission’s schedule.The Secretary-General also points out that the looming drought in the Horn of Africa, and particularly in Eritrea and Ethiopia, is a source of deep concern and urges Member States to provide prompt and generous support for humanitarian operations in the two countries “in order to avert further suffering and loss of life.”“The period ahead will pose major challenges, but I have no doubt that with the cooperation of the parties and the continued and invaluable support of the African Union and interested Member States, including troop-contributing countries, the peace process will reach a successful conclusion,” the Secretary-General says.