Temporary Security Zone Established Along Eritrea, Ethiopia Border

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) on Wednesday officially established a Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) along the countries' common border, according to the head of the U.N. mission.

"The establishment of the TSZ marks the formal separation of the forces of the two parties," said Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, the head of the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

"It is the penultimate step in the resolution of the Ethiopian- Eritrean conflict and a necessary precondition to the implementation of the full peace agreement reached by the parties in Algiers on 12 December 2000," Legwaila said.

The achievement came one day after UNMEE signed an agreement with Eritrea outlining the rules of interaction between U.N. peacekeepers and Eritrean security elements, which underlines UNMEE's freedom of movement in the TSZ and covers issues such as the types of weapons that can be carried by militia and police within the zone.

Further, UNMEE notes, there is to be "no interference" to the peacekeepers executing their tasks from any party within the TSZ, a 25-kilometer wide buffer zone area separating the two warring East African countries.

Both Ethiopia and Eritrea officially committed to guaranteeing the U.N. mission free movement and access through their territories.

In June 2000, after two years of fighting in a border dispute, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed an agreement on cessation of hostilities following proximity talks led by Algeria and the Organization of African Unity.

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