Commissioner dismisses as baseless rumours about UNMEE members’ allegation
By: Shabait Staff
April 23, 2004

Brig. General Abrahalay Kifle, Commissioner in charge of Coordination with the UN Peacekeeping Mission, dismissed as baseless rumours on the part of UNMEE members’ alleging that the Eritrean Government “denied them making continued use of route previously available”. In an interview he gave to Eri-TV on 21 April 2004, Commissioner Abrahalay stated that UNMEE members are resorting to such unfounded rumours with the intention of evading accountability.

Noting that UNMEE’s presence here is on the basis of the Algiers Agreement of 18 June 2000, Commissioner Abrahalay indicated that UNMEE has been specifically provided with the route that enables it to fulfil its mission. To this end, the Government of Eritrea has particularly authorized UNMEE to use two routes, i.e. Asmara-Keren-Barentu and Asmara-Mendefera-Areza-Barentu roads, with a view to facilitating the movement of its members to Western Eritrea for the discharge of their mission. What’s more, Brig. General Abrahalay asserted, UNMEE members have been traveling as far as Nacfa- one of the areas clearly beyond UNMEE’s operational zone.

The Commissioner went on to expose that UNMEE members traveled at night, without the knowledge of pertinent authorities of the Eritrean Government, to a number of areas along the Asmara-Keren-Barentu road, during which they were engaged in unlawful acts of registering plate numbers of vehicles belonging to the Eritrean Defense Forces. As these acts of UNMEE members are outside the scope of UNMEE’s mission and have become a serious issue of concern to the Government of Eritrea, the Commission has decided that the Asmara-Keren-Barentu road remain closed to UNMEE members pending the finalization of due inquiry about the issue, Brig. General Abrahalay disclosed.

He further pointed out that some UNMEE members have been engaged in illegal trafficking of Eritrean citizens to neighboring countries, duping female Eritreans, producing pornographic films and related unlawful acts.