on Eritrea Sanctions, Now Ethiopia To Be Heard by Committee, Tit for Tat
July 25 -- After the Eritrean delegation left the Security
Council sanctions committee on July 22, rival Ethiopia made a request
to similarly be held by the committee, Inner City Press has learned.
o'clock Monday deadline there had been no objections to Ethiopia
being invited. Thus, int the coming days, the Meles Zenawi government
will present its case, behind closed doors, presumably for continued
and expanded sanctions on Eritrea.
Meles with Ban, previously, sanctioned party in the middle?
the committee's proceedings opened up, but that would require the
consent of all 15 members, which is unlikely. But we are following
these sanctions. Watch this site.
* * *
FM Meets Ban, UN Vague on Famine & Somalia, More
July 25 -- After Eritrea's
foreign minister Osman Saleh
Mohammed met Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, his
Permanent Representative to the UN Araya Desta gave Inner City Press
a read-out of the meeting.
said that Somalia was discussed, with Eritrea explaining its view
that in Somalia there can be no military solution and all sides have
to be represented, with the solution coming from Somalis and not from
of, but denies, providing arms to Al Shabaab. The United States is
accused of using helicopter gunships and working with “black site”
secret prisons in Mogadishu.
having last week interviewed Eritrean presidential adviser Yemane
Ghebreab on video (click here to
view), attended the delegation's photo op with Ban Ki-moon and his
staff, noting there the presence of UN deputy humanitarian chief
Catherine Bragg, who earlier on Monday briefed the Security Council
“Was famine in
Eritrea discussed?” Inner City Press asked. Desta said no, that
while the Horn of Africa is suffering droughts Eritrea “had a good
harvest last year” and stored food, and according to Desta has
bought food and stored it as well.
that there has been a dispute between Eritrea and UNICEF but that his
delegation told Ban that the country wants to have good relations
with the UN. An email to UNICEF spokespeople did not result in any
substantive answer on this, but if one if provided later it will be
Ban's Eritrea meeting was a senior official of the UN Department of
Peacekeeping Operations, to whom Inner City Press afterward asked,
“So are there peacekeeping issues with Eritrea?” The response,
with laughter, was that “there are always peacekeeping issues.”
But the UNMEE mission between Eritrea and Ethiopia was dismantled years
Eritrea FM shakes with Ban, Desta behind,
Pascoe reaches, Bragg at right (c) MRLee
scheduler and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, Department of
Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe attended the Eritrea meeting. On
the way in he joked, “You complained no one else was present, so I
came.” There were a lot of UN officials there, perhaps as a follow
up to Eritrea's presidents request to Ban on July 8 for a longer
meeting. But what was really accomplished?
Grilled in Sanctions Committee, Somalia on Tap for
22 -- After UN Security Council members met behind
closed doors Friday afternoon about Somalia and Eritrea sanctions,
Inner City Press asked committee chairman Hardeep Singh Puri of India
if new sanctions on mining and funds from the Eritrean diaspora were
“We need a
meeting on that,” he said, adding that he had invited Permanent
Representative Desta and presidential
Yemane Ghebreab -- who
Inner City Press interviewed on July 22, click here for video -- to
the “outlines” of the forthcoming monitoring committee report.
“My goal is
compliance with Resolution 1907,” Hardeep Singh Puri said, “not
to box anybody in.”
take place as the Somalia's Al Shabaab, which Eritrea is accused of
supporting, vacillate about allowing humanitarian groups in to the
drought ravaged areas under their control.
told Inner City Press Friday morning that a briefing is being
July 25 at 11 am on Somlia -- “only on humanitarian issues.”
said that holding the briefing might “raise expectations” that
the UN could or would do something in the face of Al Shabaab's
humanitarian blockade. But later Friday it was confirmed: the briefing
Osman Saleh Mohammed is slated to meet with Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon on July 25 at 3:30. And later in the week,
sources say, the monitoring group's report should be made public. We'll
* * *
on Sanctions, Somalia &
After the Eritrea
of the UN Security
Council on July 19, which Inner City Press was one of only two
outlets to go to cover, and of the two the only one to write about it,
UN reached out to offer an interview with Yemane
Ghebreab, special political adviser to President Isaias Afwerki.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 8 in Juba, the day
before South Sudan's independence. In the UN read-out afterward, and
in response to questions from Inner City Press, the UN insisted that
the topic of Somalia was not discussed, that “the read out speaks
Ghebreab on July 21 told Inner City Press that Somalia was in fact
discussed with Ban. Video here.
sources in the
Security Council's closed door July 19 meeting said happened there,
Yemane Ghebreab denied that Eritrea has supported the Al Shabaab
rebels in Somalia. For this proposition, he argued that Eritrea is a
secular country, half Christian, and would not support Islamists.
the close door meeting the US, represented by Ambassador
Susan Rice, had urged further sanctions on Eritrea, including some
that would bar the diaspora from sending money home for development
projects, and block investment in mining, including by American
Ghebreab to contrast the positions of the US under
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Yemane Ghebreab replied
that “we knew Susan Rice when she was with the Clinton
administration,” but now things were very hostile, that the US
alone wanted more sanctions. (Other Security Council sources later
disagreed with this assessment, while identifying the US as “the
US will support Ethiopia whatever it does, including
“violating international law” by holding on to Eritrean territory
including Badme, and buying 200 tanks while asking for aid money.
Inner City Press asked if he thought that Ethiopia being tapped as
provider of troops for Abyei in Sudan further isolated Eritrea. We do
not begrudge them their peacekeeping role, Yemane Ghebreab in essence
Ghebreab about the recent defections by Eritrean
athletes; he replied that was merely “migration."
Press asked if military aged males are not allowed passports. There
is “national service,” he said, like the draft the US had in the
Vietnam War era.
the family of people who defect are punished. “Only if
they are complicit,” Yemane Ghebreab said. He said his country
became independent as the Cold War ended and things have not worked
out in the Horn of Africa as they had hoped. He said there is hope.