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The BBC's Alex Last
"Problems.. remain such as the presence inside the zone of three companies of Ethiopian soldiers"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Eritrea pulls out of buffer zone
Eritrean soldier in front of destroyed building
Eritrean refugees will now be able to go home
The Eritrean Government has announced that its forces have pulled out of the border zone with its neighbour, Ethiopia.

The move clears the way for a temporary security zone to be established, as part of the peace agreement between the two countries

UN in Senafe
The UN will deploy inside the buffer zone

Eritrea had earlier halted its pull-out because of disputes over the boundary of the area.

The demilitarised zone is expected to be monitored by United Nations troops, but will still be administered by Eritrea.

The UN and Eritrea have also signed an agreement setting out guidelines on the movements of Eritrean police and militia forces in the zone.

Going home

The Eritrean authorities also said they expected hundreds of thousands of displaced Eritreans would begin to return home immediately.

This will be a lengthy process due to logistical restrictions and because many towns and villages inside the zone were severely damaged during the war.

There were also concerns that civilians would rush home en-masse, unaware of the massive threat of land mines.

However, the timing is crucial if civilians are to be able to start farming in time for the approaching rainy season.

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See also:

07 Apr 01 | Africa
Ethiopia and Eritrea meet
24 Feb 01 | Africa
Ethiopia says pull-out complete
18 Feb 01 | Africa
Eritrea's pull-back begins
13 Feb 01 | Africa
Relief as Ethiopian troops leave
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