UN sanctions on Eritrea ‘working to contain belligerence’

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Addis Ababa, 2 May 2014 (WIC) – The United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Eritrean officials has worked in containing the Asmara regime from destabilizing the region, a scholar says.

The U.N. Security Council has twice imposed sanctions on Eritrea in the past few years after a UN report found that the country supports al-Shabaab and other armed groups in Somalia to destabilize the region.

In an exclusive interview with WIC, Dr Mehari Tadelle, an International Consultant on African Union affairs, believes these sanctions had curtailed the Issaias Afewrki regime from interfering in ongoing regional crisis.

“Issaias would have intervened in South Sudan crisis to further fuel it if it was not for fear of another sanction,” Mehari told WIC adding that the growing peace in Somalia is testament to the fact that the sanctions have worked.

“As [Eritrea] reduces its cooperation with al Shabaab, Somalia is gaining promising peace and stability,” Mehari, who is a Research Fellow at the NATO Defense College, said.

The regime in Asmara assumed power in early 1990s and gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. However, Issaias, who was once adored by his countrymen as a popular liberationist, is increasingly isolated in the international arena with thousands of Eritreans fleeing their country. And Mehari sees the emergence of another failed state in the Horn of Africa region.

On December 23, 2009 the UNSC adopted Resolution 1907 imposing an arms embargo on Eritrea, travel bans on its leaders, and froze the assets of some of the country's political and military officials. In 2011 the UNSC toughened the sanctions increasing the number of individuals and entities that can be hit with a travel ban and assets freeze.

The measure followed a UN sanctions monitoring group report which linked the Asmara government to a bomb plot against an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January 2011 and the regime’s continued destabilizing efforts in the region.