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Eritrea seeks neutral UN monitoring body, lift to sanctions


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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ADDIS ABABA – The Eritrean government has called on the UN Security Council to re-establish a UN monitoring group on Somalia accusing the existing panel of being "biased".

Eritrea Foreign Minister Osman Saleh sent a letter, requesting that the sanctions against them be lifted, last week to Security Council’s current chair, Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin.

A UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea in a report last month accused the Red Sea nation of continuing to support al-Qaida-linked extremist groups in Somalia and other armed groups seeking to destabilise region.

The report which found that Eritrea planned to bomb an AU summit in Ethiopia last January led to additional sanctions by the 15 member UN Security Council earlier this month.

The letter obtained by Reuters said the monitoring group “lacks independence, professionalism, impartiality and objectivity, as well as its susceptibility to political influences" and argues a need to set up an "independent, impartial and credible monitoring body" to replace the current one.

The Horn of Africa nation has also appealed to the council to lift the sanctions arguing that the report was based on fabricated accusations originated from "hostile political objectives", towards Eritrea.

The UN Security Council in 2009 slapped Eritrea with an arms embargo, assets freeze and travel ban against some of its senior political and military officials.

The latest sanctions imposed against the country will increase the number of individuals and entities effected by the measures.

Source: Sudan Tribune



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