The Ethiopian-Eritrean peace process continues to be at a critical stage and lasting peace cannot be based on temporary arrangements, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report released today.In his latest progress report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), Mr. Annan says, “in general the parties cooperate well with UNMEE and respect the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone. Their efforts in this connection are highly welcome and are essential to maintaining short-term stability in the region.”“However, lasting peace cannot be built on the basis of temporary arrangements,” the Secretary-General continues. “In the absence of significant forward movement, precious momentum could be lost and prove difficult to regain, which in turn could impact on the longer-term goals of reconstruction and development.”Lasting peace requires the expeditious demarcation of the border and a relationship between the parties that enables them to address problems through peaceful discourse, Mr. Annan states.“The absence of political contacts between the two countries since the negotiation of the Algiers Agreements has undoubtedly hindered the normalization of bilateral relations – a vital element of any peace process,” he notes.Mr. Annan stresses that while the international community has repeatedly affirmed its readiness to support the parties on the road to peace “nothing will be more important than the commitment of the parties themselves.” “Since the terrible suffering of war ended three years ago, the Governments and people of the two countries have invested heavily in peace. It is crucial they take the remaining steps required to benefit fully form the yields of that investment,” he says encouraging cooperation and interaction between Ethiopia and Eritrea.