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At UN on Eritrea, Discordant NYT Note in Arming Shabab Narrative Ignored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- After the Somalia / Eritrea Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council provided a closed door briefing on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham of the UK, this month's Council president, about it:

Inner City Press: There had been this controversy about a flight where Eritrea had been accused of bringing, flying in weapons to Al-Shabaab. There were media accounts that the report of the Committee cleared them of that, or said there was no evidence of that. Has this now finally, has this reached the Council, was this discussed at all?

Amb Parham: Yes. The role of Eritrea was discussed in the consultations we have had just now. The Monitoring Group say that they have established that Eritrea has been breaching the arms embargo. That’s clearly a serious issue and I think the Committee, chaired by Ambassador Puri, will take that forward, among other things, I think, in discussion with the Eritreans themselves.”

Inner City Press: There was a New York Times report saying actually that the Committee had found a particular flight that was used as a rationale for entering Somalia didn’t take place. Was the presentation uniformly --

Amb Parham: In the discussion just now we didn’t get into the specific flights, but what we did hear is that the Monitoring Group have established that there have been breaches by Eritrea and that is something which, I think, the Committee will take forward including, as I say, with the Eritreans themselves. Thanks.

  Just on this issue, Reuters on January 16, 2012 reported and the New York Times of January 17, 2012 at Page A10 published as followed:

Eritrea: Panel Finds No Arms Were Sent to Somali Rebels


Published: January 16, 2012

Eritrea did not airlift arms to Islamist militants in the Somali town of Baidoa late last year, a preliminary United Nations report has found. Kenya accused Eritrea in November of delivering weapons to the Shabab, a Qaeda-linked rebel group battling to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government. Eritrea repeatedly denied the accusation. The United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said that its 'preliminary assessment is that these reports were incorrect and that the alleged deliveries to Baidoa probably did not take place.'

  Was this Reuters and NYT report false? No correction was ever published. If not, how could the Committee not discuss it, but rather hear only that "the Monitoring Group say that they have established that Eritrea has been breaching the arms embargo"?

Perhaps relatedly, how can it be that after Ethiopia admitted attacked inside Eritrea, which wrote to the Council as first reported by Inner City Press, the Council has held no meeting or discussion, until the above summarized sanctions discussion?

One thought that UN and even Security Council was about hearing from those accused, and about dialogue. But perhaps not. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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