Eritrea Urges UN to Drop Sanctions

Posted July 17th, 2012 at 12:45 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 dur 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, largely because of enhanced international monitoring. It said this was also a result of a “growing friction” between the Eritrean government and al-Shabab.

Desta says Eritrea cannot comment on the full findings of the report because officials in Asmara did not receive an official copy before it was leaked on Monday.