The UN Security Council has been discussing, in these past days, the “renewal of the sanctions on Eritrea”. A draft resolution, which will essentially extend the unwarranted sanctions against Eritrea for another year, has been worked out although it contains a caveat for “review of the resolution” sometime during the year.
As it will be recalled, the sanctions on Eritrea were imposed in December 2009 under trumped up charges of “Eritrea’s support to Al-Shebaab in Somalia”. That this allegation had no basis in law and fact was known to the principal architects of the resolution as well as to vast members of the UN system. Nonetheless, Washington was doggedly wedded at the time to a political agenda of “punishing Eritrea”. As it happened, it used its diplomatic clout to ram through the resolution under dubious circumstances on Christmas Eve that year.
It is almost eight years now since these sanctions have remained in force to inculcate considerable damage to Eritrea. Virtually all member states today acknowledge, without ambiguity, that these accusations are hollow indeed. Yet the UNSC continues to invoke irrelevant and tangential issues to maintain the illicit sanctions.
What is additionally appalling is the UNSC’s duplicitous decision to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter and impose sanctions on Eritrea while it has shirked its responsibilities on a grave situation that really merits its action.
Ethiopia continues to occupy, for more than 15 years now – sovereign Eritrean lands in violation of the UN/AU Charters and the Algiers Peace Agreement that was brokered and guaranteed by the UNSC itself. The Algiers Agreement contains explicit provisions that stipulate the invocation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter by the UNSC to impose punitive measures on the recalcitrant party. And, the UNSC knows full well that Ethiopia has indeed violated the Algiers Agreement and the related Arbitral (EEBC) Award to occupy the sovereign land of its neigbbour and create a grave threat to regional peace and security.
But under relentless pressure from the US, the UNSC has chosen to close its eyes to date to this flagrant violation of international law. On the other hand, the UNSC continues to maintain the sanctions regime imposed on Eritrea that was originally concocted by Washington in order to eviscerate Eritrea’s legal and moral case and deflect attention from Ethiopia’s flagrant violations of international law.
Even at this late hour, what is morally and legally incumbent on the UNSC is rectification of this injustice; not the extension of the unwarranted sanctions under procedural and/or other untenable ruses.
Ministry of Information
13 November 2017