6 December 2011

Somalia: Eritrea Furious With UN Stance

Photo: IRIN
UNMEE peacekeepers in Eritrea.

Nairobi — Eritrea has reacted with fury to new sanctions handed down by the United Nations Security Council for supporting Islamist militants, including Al-Shabaab, in the lawless Somalia.

The Red Sea State defiantly stated that it would prevail in spite of the hurdles placed on its way by the new sanctions.

"The peoples of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the region will undoubtedly pay the price for this continued misguided policy, but the Eritrean people will prevail, as they prevailed in the past" a statement from Eritrean Foreign Ministry stated.

The Council passed the resolution with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions from China and Russia on Monday to expand sanctions imposed two years ago--that included an arms embargo.

The new resolution watered down at the insistence of Russia and China now requires foreign companies involved in mining in Eritrea to exercise "vigilance" to ensure funds from the sector are not used to destabilise the region.

The original draft circulated by Gabon sought to ban investment in Eritrea's mining industry and outlaw imports of its minerals. It further sought to block payment of a tax Eritrea charges on remittances from its nationals abroad.

The resolution drew the support of the US, Britain and France, Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa.

Eritrea is furious at what it termed "US instigated sanctions" and warned that such action would exacerbate conflict and instability in the Horn of Africa.

Will eighteen tensions

"The resolution is another injustice on the Eritrean people and will heighten tensions and stoke an already explosive situation in the Horn of Africa," the statement added.

The US administration, Eritrea stressed, was using the sanctions to cover up its failed policies in the Horn of Africa.

President Isaias Afwerki's government also took issue with the Security Council, accusing it of becoming a puppet of the US to endorse Washington's hostility towards African regimes.

Kenya's Ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau welcomed the new sanctions saying it "vindicated the position we have had all along," Mr Kamau said.

Nairobi has lately been on a diplomatic collision with Asmara over the latter's alleged support to Al-Shabaab through supply of arms.

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