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UN to withdraw India-led Ethiopia mission

The Indian-led mission monitoring ceasefire between Ethiopia and Eritrea is in danger of being withdrawn.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2006 11:30 IST

The Indian-led peace mission monitoring the five-year-old ceasefire between Ethiopia and Eritrea is in danger of being withdrawn following increased confrontation between the two countries with Eritrea making its functioning almost impossible.

In a report to the Security Council released on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the situation had reached a dangerous stalemate and held out the possibility of withdrawing the mission.

With the mission almost immobilised, Annan asked the Council to put a deadline on the two nations to meet its demands, apparently hinting that the mission could be asked to fold up after that or its nature could be changed.

One option he gave was creating a preventive force deployed entirely on the Ethiopian side as Eritrea is placing a restriction on the mission's movement.

"But none of the options is perfect," Annan admitted.

The Indian mission to the United Nations had no comment on the options given by Annan but India's Ambassador Nirupam Sen had told a meeting of the Council, convened by New Delhi in October, that the mission would collapse unless it took a decisive decision.

Currently, the mission has the strength of 3293 troops, including 214 military observers and is headed by Major Gen Rajender Singh. India is the main contributor with about 1500 troops followed by Jordan which had 1000 military personnel.

The mission was established in 2000 after Algeria and the African Union brokered peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia following a two-year bloody war over a border dispute.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 09:39 IST