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Canadian Forces contribution to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea - Operation Addition and Operation Eclipse

BG–03.005 - January 23, 2003

Operation Addition consists of six Canadian military observers deployed on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in the region sometimes referred to as the Horn of Africa. One of the poorest places in the world, its economy consists mainly of livestock herding and subsistence farming. It is an area plagued by drought, famine and war.

Hostilities broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea in May 1998. In June 2000, after two years of fighting, both countries signed a ceasefire under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity, or OAU. Under the ceasefire agreement, the border region would be patrolled by United Nations peacekeeping forces and monitored by observers from the OAU.

Operation Addition began in August 2000, when Canada provided one observer to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, or UNMEE. Five more Canadians arrived in November, and the mission was extended to July 2003, when Canada's role in UNMEE will end, as the situation in the region is now stable.

In September 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in support of the ceasefire agreement, authorizing the deployment of about 4,000 peacekeeping troops and 220 United Nations Military Observers on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In December 2000, the two countries signed a comprehensive peace agreement. That same month, Canada launched Operation Eclipse, the deployment of about 450 Canadian Forces members in the region for six months of duty with UNMEE as part of the Stand-by High Readiness Brigade, or SHIRBRIG. In June 2001, their six-month tour complete, the Canadians handed over their duties to an Indian contingent and returned home.

Operation Eclipse was the first time Canada's new LAV III light armoured vehicle took the field. The vehicle has a crew of three, can carry seven soldiers, and protects them against shrapnel, small-arms fire, and mines. (For more technical information on the LAV III, visit the Army Website at

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