Eritrea Urges UN to Drop Sanctions

Posted July 17th, 2012 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
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Eritrea is urging the United Nations to lift sanctions against the country after a leaked U.N. report suggested Asmara no longer supports Somali al-Shabab insurgents.

The report by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, obtained Monday by news agencies including VOA, found no evidence that Eritrea directly supported al-Shabab in the past year.

The U.N. Security Council tightened sanctions against the East African country last year due to concerns it was supporting Somali insurgents — a claim Eritrea denies.

Eritrea's U.N. envoy, Aray Desta, tells VOA the sanctions should be lifted because the latest findings of the monitoring group expose, what he says, were the “fabricated” accusations.

“We have been saying all this time that Eritrea has never given arms to al-Shabab. And, even this time, they have to come to say that they have not received any evidence regarding this.”

The U.N. report says Eritrea's support for armed groups in Somalia has diminished, partly because of enhanced international monitoring, and partly because of al-Shabab's failures on the battlefield.

However, it says Eritrea has failed to comply with Security Council resolutions and remains a destabilizing influence across the region. The panel presented evidence that Eritrea has trained Ethiopian rebel groups and sold weapons to smuggling rings in Sudan.

Last year, the monitoring group accused Eritrea of a failed plot to bomb the African Union summit in Ethiopia.