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UNMEE press briefing notes 09 Feb 2007

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POLITICAL

UNMEE briefed the "Friends of UNMEE" and members of the Security Council on the recently adopted resolution 1741 (2007), renewing the mandate.

MILITARY

General Overview

The military situation in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and Adjacent Areas remained volatile and tense. Routine troop movements continue on both sides: In Sectors West, Centre, and Sub-Sector East.

The Eritrean ban on UNMEE flights is still in place and UNMEE patrols continue to face restrictions inside the TSZ, particularly in Sectors West and Centre. Nonetheless, monitoring of the TSZ and Adjacent Areas was conducted from existing posts. Despite these restrictions, UNMEE discharged its tasks throughout the Area of Responsibility in the past week.

The Kenyan Deming Company cleared an area of 53,550 square metres inside the Adjacent Area near Zela Ambessa in Sector Centre.

In all Sectors, UNMEE peacekeepers continued to provide medical assistance to the local population. Veterinarian support was given in Sector Centre, and water from UNMEE sources was supplied to diverse local population in its Area of Responsibility.

Repatriation of Eritrean and Ethiopian Nationals.

On 1 February, repatriation of two Eritrean girls and six cattle from Ethiopia to Eritrea was carried out at Serha, Sector Centre, in the presence of a Human Rights Officer and administrative authorities from Zela Ambessa in Ethiopia and Serha in Eritrea.

UNMEE MACC

The Route Clearance Team of the MACC verified mine threats in riverbeds and on the roads of Shiraro in Sector West. The Integrated Demining Capacity teams continue to work in Egri Mekel minefield in Tserona, Sector Centre, within the TSZ. This week, the teams cleared 49,741m² of land and 10.8 KMs of road. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team based in Eritrea, deployed to Tserona (Sector Centre) and destroyed 2 unexploded ordnances and 3 anti-tank mines.

Two Mine Risk Education Teams went to Shilalo in Sector West, and Tserona in Sector Centre, where they conducted various MRE activities with the local population of different age groups and gender affected by mines and explosive remnants of war. A total of 480 people participated in the MRE activities.

OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

On 2 February, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated by UNMEE's civilian and military staff at the Headquarters in Asmara and Addis Ababa.

For further enquires please contact:

Musi Khumalo, Deputy Chief of Public Information, UNMEE Headquarters Asmara, Telephone: 291-1-150411 Ext 6017 or our tie-line in New York: 00-1-212-963-3779-Ext 6017 or UNMEE Headquarters Addis Ababa, Telephone: 251-1-372-6895 extension 7059/7076