United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) - ECLIPSE

International Information

International Operation Name: United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea

International Mission Name: United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE)

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Africa

Location: Ethiopia and Eritrea

Mission Date: 12 December 2000 - 31 July 2008

Mission Mandate: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1312, 31 July 2000; United Nations Security Council Resolution 1320, 15 September 2000

To monitor the UN-established Temporary Security Zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and verify the redeployment of Ethiopian forces in Eritrea from positions taken after 06 February 99 which were not under that country's control in May 1998.

CF Mission/Operation Notes: On 18 June 2000, after two years of continuous fighting in a border dispute, the African nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a cessation of hostilities agreement following talks led by Algeria and the Organization of African Unity. Included in the agreement was the acceptance by both sides of a Temporary Security Zone to be monitored by United Nations Military Observers (UNMO’s), and patrolled by an impartial UN peacekeeping force. The UN requested that the peacekeepers be provided by the Standby Forces High-Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG), a pre-established United Nations multinational military force created in 1996 (a Danish initiative) to provide troops at the start of UN peacekeeping missions for a period of no more than six months.

In July, the Security Council set up the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) which consisted of 200 military observers and approximately 4,200 peacekeepers, to maintain liaison with the parties and establish a mechanism for verifying the ceasefire.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (ECLIPSE)

Name: ECLIPSE

Date: 12 December 2000 - 11 June 2001

Canadian Task Force Name Mission Statement: As part of SHIRBRIG, Canada had been tasked to provide military observers and a mechanized infantry company to the Dutch-led peacekeeping effort.

The Canadian military had also agreed to supply a mechanized infantry company group with engineering and logistics support - approximately 450 personnel - for the six-month rotation. Under the CF designation Operation ECLIPSE, the resulting company (the Canadian Task Force East Africa), was formed primarily by the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, and from 4 Engineering Support Regiment, both from Gagetown New Brunswick. The Task Force was integrated into a Dutch Royal Marines battalion, with a further eight Canadian Forces’ officers being deployed to serve with SHIRBRIG personnel to form the UNMEE mission headquarters.

Working from Dek’emhare and Tsoreana, Eritrea, as well as Senafe, Ethiopia, Canadian troops were assigned to the Central Sector and tasked to man permanent checkpoints and OP’s, conduct foot and vehicle patrols, perform humanitarian tasks, monitor the withdrawal of Ethiopian and Eritrean forces from the Temporary Security Zone, report any infractions of the peace agreement, and oversee the exchange of prisoners of war, and minefield clearance/information. They would also cover Sector East of the UNMEE area of responsibility (AOR), where from 1 January to 3 March 2001, they enforced the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops until relieved by Kenyan forces.

Canada concluded its duties on 11 June 01 with the last of the Op ECLIPSE troops leaving in July 01.

 

Photo by MCpl Danielle Bernier, J5PA Combat Camera Dek'emhare, Eritrea

Members of Reconnaissance Platoon check their equipment for the day's operations with their new Coyote light armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The Coyote's excellent surveillance system lets the soldiers detect, monitor and record all activity in their area of responsibility by night and by day, a capability useful to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which is essentially a monitoring mission. About 540 Canadian soldiers are currently deployed on Operation ECLIPSE in support of UNMEE.

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