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Eritrea asks U.N. to replace “biased” Somalia panel

By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Eritrea has called on the United Nations to replace what it says is a "biased" monitoring group on Somalia after the panel's report prompted sanctions on Asmara

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Eritrea has called on the United Nations to replace what it says is a “biased” monitoring group on Somalia after the panel’s report prompted sanctions on Asmara over links with militant groups in Mogadishu, according to a letter sent to the Security Council.

The reclusive Red Sea state is incensed by a raft of accusations published by the U.N. Monitoring Group report on Somalia in July which accused Asmara of providing political, financial, training and logistical support to al Shabaab militants and other armed groups in Somalia.

Eritrea denies the charges.

The report triggered a Security Council resolution on Dec. 5 that expanded sanctions against Eritrea for continuing to provide support to Islamist militants. The resolution also urged countries to make their companies involved in mining in Eritrea to exercise vigilance to ensure funds were not used to destabilise the region.

Eritrea had already been slapped with an arms embargo, assets freeze and travel ban in 2009.

In a letter obtained by Reuters, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh urged the Security Council’s current chair, Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, to establish an “independent, impartial and credible body”.

Saleh said the monitoring group had “failed to garner the support of many (council) members due to its lack of independence, professionalism, impartiality and objectivity, as well as its susceptibility to political influences”.

Saleh also called for the lifting of sanctions, saying they were rooted on “fabricated” accusations emanating from “hostile political objectives”, according to the letter dated Dec. 19.

Despite repeated denials that it is not a destabilising force in the volatile Horn of Africa region, Eritrea is widely regarded in the international community as a pariah state and is deeply mistrusted by its neighbours. Analysts say its latest request will probably fall on deaf ears.

The monitoring group was set up by the Security Council in 2002 to monitor embargoes on the delivery of arms to Somalia. Its mandate was expanded in July, allowing the group to investigate revenues generated from rebel-held seaports in the anarchic country.

Eritrea, however, says the monitoring group has come under heavy influence from arch-foe Ethiopia and the United States and dismisses any links with Somalia’s militants, including the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels.

Eritrea is at loggerheads with Ethiopia over disputed territory and accuses the U.S. of failing to force Addis Ababa to hand over disputed land that was awarded to the Red Sea state by a U.N. commission after a border dispute a decade ago.

The Horn of Africa nation has also accused Washington of obstructing President Isaias Afewerki’s attempt to address the Security Council ahead of the sanctions resolution.

Review overview
  • aurora bruk December 24, 2011

    eseyas is down on his knees! and just because he bosses us (the Eritrean people) around, he thinks he can do that with other nations as well. what a shame! this is a bitter pill for him to swallow. he is just a naughty kid. what is saddening is though, that we should be subjected to his kind of tyrany.
    also he has no idea whatsoever about the conspiracy theory concerning ali abdu (speaking in Amaharic in Asha die Beraki on Voice of Asena about the port of Assab). he and others like him are supposed to be working, to unite Eritrea with Ethiopia. One big country. that is why, he wants the Eritrean youth, to leave the country. and many Eritreans who are aware of this, are reluctant to leave, because they feel, they need to defend it from traitors like eseyas and ali.

  • Kiflom December 24, 2011

    Do not be surprised to hear this trash attempt. Putin’s Medvedev sent a special envoy to Asmara betraying the decisions of the UNSC. It is currently being chaired by his own lapdog. Isaias Afeworki Abraham has said what he wanted to the Russian envoy. His dream is to get the world divided into two camps and to have one group confronting another. His dream will not be realised. Eriterian democrats must be exceptionally alert in regard to the back door dealings between Russia & the totalitarian dictator.

  • sol December 24, 2011

    This guy must be smoking when he wakes up who the he hail hw is to chose his own investigator, who is the one accussed of supporting Somali terrorists and want to chose his own prosecutor and judges.
    He acts like spoiled child and never been matured. After staying in power for long he has not take lesson running a government and he wants always to be a rebel leader rather than a president. Being a president needs also a protocol, how you dress, how you receive foreign delegates ,how you talk to your ministers, in short how you communicate with the rest of the world, even though there is slight variation weather you are Democrat or dictator , the protocol is pretty much the same unless you are a renegade.
    But I am really sorry for those citizens who look these psychopath as a role model if that is the case we are being infected by his mental condition.

  • Taddesse T Gebremussie December 24, 2011

    If Isayas you are clever call Eritrean elders give the pawer to transitional government of lawyers & scolars UN ovthervers ERTREANS will give you mercy,bcouse you & the G13 YOU ARE EQUAL CRIMINALS IN the past 40 years .Knowing or un knowing ELF EPLF you kill many of your brathers inocent Ertrean no one had clean hand as our Lord Jeses said,let the person who have clean hand through first.Eritrean will give you mercy ,bcouse of your 50 year service.OUR PRAYER WE ASK GOD TO FORGIVE US IF WE FORGIVE OTHERS .2012 COME WITH CLEAN HEART ERITREANS WILL FORGIVE YOU.That is the best way for you &save our country.