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Response to the Questions Raised by Ethiopia Relat

B.1.The comments leading to the first question compare (a) the mission of the Committee of Ambassadors sent in 1998 by the OAU High Level Delegation to (b) the mission of the Neutral Commission provided for in paragraph 3 of the Technical Arrangements.

B.1.1. The missions of these two bodies are different in important respects. The Committee of Ambassadors conducted discussions with the political authorities of the two Parties in their respective capitals. On the other hand, the purpose of the Neutral Commission, as stated in paragraph 3 of the Technical Arrangements, is to facilitate the full implementation of paragraph 5 of the Modalities with a view to returning to positions held prior to 6 May 1998. To do so, the Neutral Commission is mandated to determine what those positions were. In conducting its work, the Commission will, necessarily, visit the field, while utilizing whatever information it deems relevant and while consulting with the Parties. It is essential that this determination be made as swiftly as possible in order to enable the rapid, subsequent redeployment of forces, in accordance with paragraph 8 of the Technical Arrangements. The Additional steps necessary to execute redeployment by the Parties, especially the redeployment of observers, must proceed concurrently with the work of the Neutral Commission in order to enable the swiftest possible redeployment and restoration of civilian administration.

B.1.2. As a practical matter, the safety of the members of the Commission as they visit an area currently a military frontline can only be assured in the context of the cessation of hostilities called for in paragraph 2 of the Technical Arrangements.

B.1.3. The establishment of the Neutral Commission and the execution of its mandate are an integral part of the implementation process as agreed and requested by the Parties.

B.1.4. In any event, the Framework Agreement, which remains the reference for the settlement process (supplemented by the Modalities), specifies under paragraph 1 that "the two Parties commit themselves to an immediate cessation of hostilities".

B.1.5. Similarly, the Modalities specify under paragraph 3 that "the two Parties agree to put an end to all military activities and to all forms of expression likely to sustain and exacerbate the climate of hostility and thus compromise the implementation of the Framework Agreement". On their acceptance of the Modalities, the two Parties thus committed themselves to this provision.

B.1.6. Thus, the cessation of hostilities committed to by both Parties on their respective acceptance of the Framework Agreement and the Modalities must come into force with the commencement of the implementation process.

B.2. The second question raised on this issue asks whether redeployment of the Eritrean troops 50 days after D-day is not contrary to paragraph 4 of the Modalities, which provides for immediate commencement of redeployment following cessation of hostilities.

B.2.1. The answer is a practical one. Paragraph 4 of the Framework Agreement specifies that "this redeployment be supervised by a group of military observers, which will be deployed by the OAU with the support of the United NationsŠ". A period of time between the

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