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Press Release

“Moon  of the  South”,  an obscure  weekly  magazine,  published  excerpts  of an interview with Francois  Bozize,  the deposed  President  of the Central African  Republic  in its April 4 edition  this  month.  The  reporter,  a certain  Issa  Sikiti  Da  Silva,  quotes  the  former  CAR President  who stated that “Chad helped  Seleka rebels to overthrow”  his government.

But  then,  the  reporter  gratuitously   impugns  Eritrea  to claim  that  “the  arms  used  by the Seleka  rebels  during  the  final  assault  on the  presidential   palace  were  purchased   from Eritrea and transited  by Chad with the permission  of Deby”.   The author does not provide a shred of evidence  for his outlandish  statement.   He simply cites “Le Journal  de Brazza” as a source  to add:  “Eritrea,  a rogue  state badly  hit by EU and US  sanctions  (sic), has a history  of arming African  rebel groups,  including  Somalia’s  Al-Shabab”.

It is indeed  the  familiar  terrain.    Part  of this  invective  can be explained  by sloppy,  cut­ and-paste,  journalism   where  reporters  heedlessly  parrot  and recycle  news  items  without ascertaining  their veracity.    On the other hand,  it may be part and parcel  of the deliberate defamation  and demonization   campaigns  that the arch-enemies  of Eritrea  have  intensified in the past months.

Be that as it may, the Foreign Ministry wishes to highlight the following points in order to put the record  straight:

1.  Eritrea  has neither  the  political  will  nor the material  and  logistical  capabilities  to sell/deliver  arms to rebels  in CAR and/or “other  African  rebel  groups”.   In the first place, Eritrea   does not  manufacture   weapons   and/or  ammunitions   of  any  kind. Furthermore,    Eritrea has remained under an unlawful   arms embargo   for the last three years.    It would  not  thus  be  in a position,  even  hypothetically,   to  sell  and transfer   arms  to  CAR  rebels  or  Chad  with  whom  it  does  not  share  contiguous territory;  (the reporter  does not even appear to know the geography  of the region).

2.  The fabricated story will no doubt be peddled in the same fashion and for the same purposes   as previous   invectives.      In November   2011, for instance, Eritrea was falsely accused  by Kenya  for delivering  arms to AI-Shabab  in Somalia  through  the airport  of Baidowa.   The story was proven  to be false later.   But still,  it continued to be quoted  by various  news  wires  as well  as human  rights  groups  and assorted detractors  of Eritrea.   The transparent  trick is to plant a false story somehow  in the wicked  knowledge   that  it  will  be  recycled   and  “ultimately   stick  as  something probable  or credible”.   These cheap acts must not be tolerated.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 April 2013



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