On Wednesday December 23 2009, the UN Security Council, through Resolution 1907 (2009), imposed a number of sanctions against Eritrea. The pretext behind the sanctions is that Eritrea has been providing support to the insurgents in Somalia as well as refusing to withdraw its troops to the ‘status quo ante’ prior to the little known conflict between Djibouti and Eritrea around their common border.
S/RES/1907 (2009) was passed despite a telling absence of credible evidence to support the allegations that were made against Eritrea. On Wednesday December 23 2009, a few hours before the sanctions were passed, members of AGE and representatives of other British based Eritrean organisations including the Eritrean Youth Association in the UK (EYAUK) and Eritrean Relief Association in UK (ERA-UK), held a meeting with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
During the meeting, the representatives presented a strong case pointing to the flaws of accusations made against Eritrea. We stated that the body of evidence that had been put forward as proof by the UN Arms Monitoring Group was rife with unfounded fabrications and unqualified false claims that cannot be independently verified. According to the FCO however, the British government had in fact evidence to demonstrate that the Eritrean government has been extending financial support to two ‘insurgent’ groups in Somalia. When they were asked to disclose what this evidence is, or indeed what kind of support the Eritrean government has allegedly been providing, we were told that the information was classified and could not be made available to us. Furthermore, the British Ambassador to the UN could not even make the so-called evidence available to other members of the Security Council before it voted on Resolution 1907 (2009). We challenged many of their accusations and whilst we received their seemingly undivided attention, we came away certain that the British government had no evidence available, proving that its aim was just a case of hit-now-and-explain-later, as has been the case in the past.
The Action Group for Eritrea, after careful and detailed consideration of the matter, takes the following stand:
Given that no credible evidence has been presented that could have justified the sanction and that the decision of the UN Security Council is made based on fabricated lies;
Being aware of the fact that the motives for taking the sanctions are not in any way intended to bring peace to Somalia or the region as a whole;
Fully convinced that the conflict in Somalia and the crises in the region as a whole are perpetuated by external forces and that Eritrea is being used as a scapegoat;
Considering that the UN Security Council failed to shoulder its responsibility of taking action against Ethiopia for violating the final and binding legal decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and illegally occupying Eritrea’s sovereign territory to this day;
Noting that the UN Arms Monitoring Group made equal allegations against Ethiopia in violating the Somali Arms Embargo, but has remained unaffected by any threats or sanctions;
Bearing in mind that the UN Security Council’s Somalia Sanctions Committee admits that “eighty percent of ammunition available at the Somali arms markets was supplied by TFG and Ethiopian troops”, as well as AMISOM troops;
Aware of the historical injustices perpetuated by the same international body in 1950 in forcing the federation between Eritrea and Ethiopia which led to the 30 years of bloody war;
Understanding that the consequences of the sanctions would be detrimental to the ordinary people of Eritrea;
We strongly believe, in view of the above, that the decision of the UN Security Council is politically motivated and is intended to weaken Eritrea as well as create an imbalance of power in the region. The sanctions, as well as laying down an arms embargo against Eritrea, the freezing of assets and travel ban on Eritrean government officials, are mainly aimed at creating an Eritrea that is economically and militarily weak. We hold the UN Security Council responsible for any deterioration in peace and security of the region as a result of this irresponsible action.
We also deplore the actions of the British government for being one of the main architects of this historic injustice and for playing a negative role in the region for the past ten years.
Hence, the Action Group for Eritrea joins hands with the overwhelming majority of the Eritrean people in condemning this unmerited action by the UN Security Council which will be remembered as yet another historic betrayal of a member state. We urge the UN Security Council members to reconsider and revoke the unjust sanction and make amends with the people and State of Eritrea.
While the people of Eritrea will no doubt outlive these sanctions, they will never forget those who have played a leading role in this flagrant attempt to harm them. Nor shall the people overlook the role of the peripheral countries which willingly played various parts in this concerted effort to debase Eritreans.
At this historic juncture, we stand with the people of Eritrea and commit ourselves to defend the interest of the people of Eritrea and work to bring peace and stability in the region. We do not have a shred of doubt that the people of Eritrea and justice will prevail yet again.