Posted by: africanpressorganization | 15 June 2009

IGAD: Wayward means to sully Eritrea





IGAD: Wayward means to sully Eritrea



ASMARA, Eritrea June 15, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In a move full of irony, and, by misappropriating the names of the African Union and IGAD, countries hostile to Eritrea, on issues that have nothing to do with Somalia, are trying to use the Somali fig-leaf to persuade the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea. They have strategized to demand maximum sanctions in the hope that they can exact at least some measures from the Security Council.

An African country demanding sanctions on another African nation by falsely using the name of the African Union is indeed a dastardly and unprecedented move. As it happens, the countries that are pushing for sanctions have been forced to drop their claim to be pursuing it on behalf of the AU, as no legitimate organ of the Union has mandated them to do so. In reality, they could not have mustered the hubris to approach the UNSC, if they did not believe that they could gain the indulgence of some permanent members of the Security Council.

Eritrea’s position on the maneuverings underway in New York is the following:-

Eritrea confidently reaffirms that it is not sending arms and/or ammunition to any party in Somalia. It categorically rejects the baseless charges directed against it. In fact, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould Abdella, has admitted that despite “much talk” there was no proof of the charges against Eritrea.

There is irrefutable proof that Ethiopia, in open violation of the UN arms embargo, is training and arming the Islamist armed group, the Ahli Asunna and Jami’a, various clan militias and an assortment of warlords, including Barrehilale. This is in addition to its continued military intervention inside sovereign Somali territory, which continues to complicate the search for a durable settlement.

Accusations of violating the UN arms embargo have also been leveled against a number of other countries.

In this respect, if the UNSC is going to impose any sanctions, it must do so, on the basis of unassailable proof, against those countries which perpetrated illegal military invasion of Somalia in the past years and who provided arms to Somalis in violation of the embargo. Eritrea has not done so. Ethiopia is in flagrant violation on these counts and must be sanctioned.

In regard to Eritrea’s political position on Somalia, Eritrea has been criticized for not falling in line with the “international consensus”. But, Eritrea has a right to hold an independent position, even a dissenting one. Moreover, over the past two years and half, the Eritrean position on Somalia has proven to be more realistic and correct, as compared to the conventional wisdom. Eritrea was correct in its assessment that the Abdullahi Yusuf and Nur Adde “governments”, despite the “international legitimacy” conferred on them, could not bring peace. It is Eritrea’s considered assessment that the same is true for the present, externally installed “government”, which remains holed up in a few districts of the capital, despite massive military and financial support.

Eritrea strongly believes that if the objective is the establishment of a broadly representative government paving the way for a durable settlement, then we need to refrain from trying to impose our candidates, irrespective of the qualities that we see in them. This has been tried at least 15 times in the past 15 years and has failed every single time. What is required, and what Eritrea advocates, is a Somali-owned inclusive process that would also ensure the participation and address the issues of Somaliland and Puntland.

Eritrea has absolutely no interest in the instability of Somalia. We do not, and have never considered, Somalia a threat. The Eritrean objective is to see a peaceful, stable and united Somalia.

It is Ethiopia that has for over more than six decades sought to destabilize Somalia, fought three wars against it, continued to intervene to thwart the emergence of a united government with popular legitimacy. It is farcical that the country that harbours ill-will towards Somalia and its people, seeks to use Somalis to fight its war against Eritrea. It is regrettable that Ethiopia, which should have been sanctioned, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, for continuing to occupy sovereign Eritrean territory, in contemptuous rejection of a binding international arbitration, has the temerity to pour scorn on the Security Council, by demanding sanctions on Eritrea.

It would be a travesty of justice, if members of the Security Council, condemn a country that has not violated the embargo and reward the one that should be brought to the dock, for its violation of both the arms embargo and of its obligations under international law. It would be a violation of UN principles if the Security Council responds to the issue of the embargo selectively


Eritrea – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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