The Security Council voted Tuesday to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) for one month until April 15 to allow the two countries more time to solve their border dispute.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1661, the 15-nation council stressed that lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as in the Horn of African region can not be achieved without the full demarcation of their border.
The council also urged the two countries to ensure full freedom of movement of the UN force throughout its area of operations.
The council took the move at the recommendation of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In a report to the council last week, he recommended extending the UNMEE's mandate for two to three months.
Annan observed that the protracted stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains a source of great concern and urged the two parties to take the necessary steps to move the peace process forward.
If the present situation persists, any miscalculation could result in a rapid escalation, with unpredictable consequences for the two countries and for regional stability, he warned.