UNMEE media briefing notes 25 Aug 2005


A near verbatim transcript of the press briefing held by the Deputy Chief of Public Information, Musi Khumalo, in Asmara, via videoconference linking participants in Asmara and Addis Ababa. Also present at the briefing in Asmara was UNMEE Chief-of-Staff Colonel Samuel Nandwa.


(26.08.2005)

POLITICAL

On 18 August, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, received members of the BIHA AIDS Group--an umbrella organization of people living with HIV/AIDS in Eritrea--who called on him to express their gratitude for UNMEE's financial, material and moral support in Asmara. The SRSG informed them that it was UNMEE's policy to support, wherever possible, worthy humanitarian causes that go beyond its strict peacekeeping mandate. He also assured them of the Mission's continued assistance.

On 22 August, in Addis Ababa, the SRSG received members of staff of the United States Senate, who are visiting Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The SRSG briefed the US delegation on the current situation in the peace process and the way forward. The Deputy SRSG - Addis Ababa, Azouz Ennifar, also welcomed the group and chaired a briefing session on the military aspects of UNMEE.

On 23 August, the DSRSG-Addis Ababa held a meeting with a delegation from Finland, comprising representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence, as well as from the Finnish Embassies in Cairo and Addis Ababa, who are in the region on a fact-finding mission on crisis management and development purposes. The DSRSG briefed the delegation on the current situation in the peace process. The Chief Military Liaison Officer (CMLO), Colonel Jarmo Herenius, had earlier briefed the delegation on the military aspects of UNMEE.

MILITARY

General Overview

The general situation in the Mission area remains militarily stable. There have been no significant changes in troop locations or dispositions. UNMEE conducted 547 ground and 29 air reconnaissance patrols throughout the Area of Responsibility (AOR).

In all Sectors, UNMEE peacekeepers continued to provide medical assistance to the local population, along with supplies of bulk water to civilian communities in the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and the Adjacent Areas. Approximately 196,250 litres of water was supplied to the civilian communities during the past week.

Mine Action

The Bangladesh Engineering Company, working in Sector West, probed an area of 13,500 square metres along the Binbina Triangle, towards the Shambiko road and cleared an area of 9,400 square metres along the Shilalo-Barentu road.

The Kenyan Humanitarian De-mining Company, working in Sector West, probed manually an area of 67,736 square metres in the Grat Mariam minefields.

The civilian contractor MECHEM continued its de-mining operations and manually cleared an area of 2,100 square metres at Checkpoints 74 and 73 in Sub-Sector East.

Meeting and Visits

The Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier General Abraham Wambugu, visited various posts in the Western and Central Sectors during this week.

UNMEE MACC

On 17 August, the UNMEE Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC) released the preliminary investigation report on the unexploded ordnance (UXO) incident that occurred on 15 August near the village of Macno Aromo in the Central Sector. The incident, which claimed the life of a seven-year-old boy, took place in an area used regularly by the villagers for agricultural purposes, and which is outside known minefields. In its report, the UNMEE MACC concluded that Macno Aromo is a low threat assessment area due to the absence of UXO incidents and UXO finds in the locality prior to last week's incident. UNMEE MACC has nevertheless recommended Mine Risk Education to be given to the local population.

Questions and Answers

Question [from Asmara]: Have there been any border incidents in the past four or five weeks?

Chief of Staff: I cannot recall anything other than the UXO incident [as contained in the Briefing Notes]. I cannot recall anything that I would call an incident that is significant, for that matter.

Question [from Addis]: Can you give us more details about the UXO incident reported by UNMEE MACC?

OIC-PIO: The information that we have at hand is what is in the Press Briefing Notes. If there is something specific you would like to know that is not in the press briefing notes, you could give us your questions and we will relay them to UNMEE MACC.


Von: 25 August 2005, http://www.reliefweb.int

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