[QODLink]
Africa
UN slaps arms embargo on Eritrea
Majority of UN Security Council vote to impose sanctions on arms imports and exports.
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2009 21:26 GMT
UN arms monitoring body set up in 1992 says Eritrea supplys munitions to Somali rebels

The UN Security Council has slapped an arms embargo on Eritrea and targeted sanctions on its leaders for aiding Somali rebels and refusing to withdraw troops from its disputed border with Djibouti.

Wednesday's resolution demanded that Eritrea "cease arming, training, and equipping armed groups and their members including al-Shabaab [fighters], that aim to destabilise the region" and also resolve a border dispute with Djibouti.

The vote in the 15-member body was 13 in favour, with veto-wielding China abstaining and Libya, the lone Arab council  member and the current African Union chair, casting a "no" vote.

The US and other nations accuse Eritrea of supplying al-Shabaab fighters with funds and arms as they battle to topple a fragile UN-backed transitional government in Somalia, a state that has been virtually lawless for 18 years.

Eritrea has repeatedly denied the allegation.

Diplomats said Uganda, which has peacekeeping troops in Somalia that have been targeted by al-Shabaab, drafted the resolution after the African Union called on the council in May to punish Eritrea over its role in Somalia.

Angry reaction

But Eritrea charged that its true author was the United States.

Araya Desta, Eritrea's UN Ambassador, described the resolution as "shameful" and told reporters it was based "on fabricated lies, mainly concocted by the Ethiopian regime and the US administration".

Ethiopia, Eritrea's regional rival, invaded Somalia in 2006 with tacit US backing to rout an Islamic Courts movement from Mogadishu. It withdrew its troops earlier this year.

"We have never supported any insurgents or any opposition in Somalia," Desta said.

"We don't want to take sides in Somalia. Somalis are our brothers."

But a UN arms monitoring body, set up to record violations of the 1992 arms embargo on Somalia, has said Eritrea was sending munitions and giving logistical support to Somali rebels.

The measure demands that Asmara "cease all efforts to destabilise or overthrow, directly or indirectly" the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia.

Border dispute

It urges member states to conduct inspections on their territory, including seaports and airports, of "all cargo to and from Somalia and Eritrea" if there is reasonable grounds to believe the shipments contain banned weapons or related material.

The text also presses Eritrea to withdraw troops immediately from disputed territories along its frontier with Djibouti, and engage in diplomatic efforts leading to "a mutually acceptable" settlement of their long-running border dispute.

Eritrea's dispute with Djibouti dates back to June 2008, when the two countries clashed after Djibouti accused Asmara of moving troops across the border. The Security Council says Eritrea has ignored its demands to withdraw the troops.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
join our mailing list