It seems that tomorrow (18 October) Council members may begin negotiations on a draft resolution that would impose additional sanctions on Eritrea. The draft resolution was circulated by Gabon on Friday, 14 October, and is co-sponsored by Nigeria. The question of whether to impose additional sanctions has been contemplated for several months, ever since the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, in its report to the Council (S/2011/433), accused Eritrea of multiple violations of resolutions 1844 and 1907. It seems Council members have been waiting for proposals on this issue to come from African Council members who apparently were initially reluctant to take up the matter. However, it appears that all three of them now support the draft that has been circulated although South Africa is not a co-sponsor.
It is understood that the draft would condemn Eritrea for its destabilising activities in the region, call for full implementation of the existing sanctions regime against it as established by resolutions 1844 and 1907 and impose additional sanctions targeting the Eritrean government.
It seems the draft would also contain annexes listing Eritrean political leaders who would be subject to the existing travel ban and asset freeze (the first listings of Eritrean leaders so far under these provisions) and would, among other things, oblige UN member states to prohibit the transfer of any funds to the Eritrean government or anybody acting on its behalf, as well as any investments in the mining industry in Eritrea or imports of raw materials.
Following the release of the Monitoring Group’s report, there has been a push for Council action against Eritrea from other states in the region, particularly Ethiopia. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD ,chaired by Ethiopia) issued communiqués in June and July condemning the activities of Eritrea, calling on the Council “to take all appropriate measures” to put an end to these activities and for the AU and the Council to fully implement the existing sanctions and impose additional targeted sanctions. It appears that Ethiopia also prepared a draft resolution in July which was unofficially shared with Council members.
Eritrea has denied the Monitoring Group’s accusations, most recently in a 7 October letter to the Council (S/2011/623), in which it also called on the Council to “reject Ethiopia’s current hostile campaign” and immediately lift all sanctions against it. It also announced that it plans to present a comprehensive response to the Monitoring Group’s report to the Sanctions Committee for Somalia and Eritrea.