African Bloc Seeks Tougher Sanctions Against Eritrea

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Members of a six-nation bloc in Eastern Africa have asked the United Nations to toughen sanctions against Eritrea.

Leaders with the Intergovernmental Governmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, have told the Security Council that the world body must “act now” because the region's stability is at stake.

Government officials from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda addressed the U.N. Security Council in New York by video link Monday.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the U.N. must send a clear signal to warn Eritrea that it cannot destabilize the region without consequences.

Regional leaders have accused Eritrea of supporting al-Shabab militants based in Somalia, a charge Eritrea has denied.

Eritrea is already subject to U.N. sanctions, including an arms embargo, because of its alleged support for al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab is attempting to overthrow the U.N.-backed Somali government and set up an Islamic state.

The group was recently pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, by Somali government and African Union forces, but still controls large sections of southern and central Somalia.

In October, Kenyan sent troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab, after accusing the group of kidnapping foreigners on Kenyan soil.

Somalia has endured 20 years of conflict and lawlessness since the collapse of the last stable government in 1991.