How a Peacekeeping Mission Fails…And Can be Rescued

Not Darfur, but the mission along the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, UNMEE. The Secretary General today warned that unless the Eritrean government lifts restrictions the import and purchase of fuel, the UN Peacekeeping mission along the Eritrea-Ethiopia border will have to fold. The mission has just two days left until it must tap into strategic fuel reserves.

UNMEE was created in 2000 to monitor a ceasefire along a disputed border region between. Both countries, though, have not made life easy for the peacekeeping force — at various times, the two governments have hindered UNMEE’s operations by throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks. Manufacturing a fuel shortage is simply the latest manifestation of the governments’ strategies to undermine the mission.

As always in these situations what’s needed is pressure from member states. If members of the Security Council think that UNMEE is worthwhile, (and they should, given the fact that the Council just extended the mission for another six months) they must do more to twist the arms of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Government to secure their cooperation.