Monday, December 5, 2011
The United Nations Security Council today placed additional sanctions on Eritrea for continuing to provide support to armed groups seeking to destabilize Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa, building on the arms and travel embargoes it imposed exactly two years ago. The new measures are contained in a resolution which received the support of 13 of the Council’s 15 members. China and Russia abstained. It follows an earlier meeting today at which the Council heard a briefing from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The Council expressed its grave concern in the text that “Eritrea has continued to provide political, financial, training and logistical support to armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, engaged in undermining peace, security and stability in Somalia and the region.” It also condemned the planned terrorist attack of January 2011 to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, as expressed by the findings of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group in July.
The group found that the Eritrean Government “conceived, planned, organized and directed a failed plot” to disrupt the summit by bombing a series of civilian and governmental targets.
In December 2009, the Council adopted a resolution which imposed sanctions on Eritrea for supporting insurgents trying to topple the government in nearby Somalia. The measures included an arms embargo on Eritrea, travel bans on the country’s top political and military officials, and the freezing of assets of some of its senior political and military officials. By today’s text, which was sponsored by Gabon and Nigeria, the Council condemned Eritrea’s violations of earlier resolutions. It demanded that it “cease all direct or indirect efforts to destabilize States,” including through financial, military, intelligence and non-military assistance, such as the provision of training centres and camps for armed groups, passports, living expenses, or travel facilitation.
The Council also voiced concern at the potential use of the Eritrean mining sector as a source of finance to destabilize the Horn of Africa. It decided that States should take measures to ensure that their companies involved in mining in Eritrea exercise “due diligence” so that funds derived from the sector are not used to destabilize the region. In addition, the Council called on Eritrea to engage constructively with Djibouti to resolve their border dispute.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)