ADDRESS BY H.E. MR. OSMAN SALEH
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE STATE OF ERITREA
THE 8099TH MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
NEW YORK, 14 NOVEMBER 2017
From the outset, I wish to congratulate you and Italy for assuming the presidency of the Council for the month of November.
I have the honor to address this meeting of the UN Security Council on behalf of the people of Eritrea who for over half a century has been at the forefront in the struggle for peace and human dignity in the Horn of Africa.
Again today, the Security Council has missed another opportunity to rectify its transgression against the people of Eritrea, and positively contribute to the security in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, which for long has been suffering from the debilitating effects of the scourge of conflict, poverty and terrorism.
The Monitoring Group has for five years, including this year, asserted that there is no evidence of Eritrean support to al-Shabab in Somalia, the principal justification invoked to impose the sanction. This should have never come as a surprise as Eritrea’s record in combating terrorism in the region is a matter of historical record.
With regard to Djibouti, it is unprecedented for a Council to sanction one party without any symmetry, especially when the dispute is under a mutually agreed mediation. The skewed manner in which the UN Security Council has been handling the dispute continues to breed a sense of no obligation on the government of Djibouti and to pursue a policy of provocation aimed at stirring tension, when in fact the border between the two countries remains calm.
Moreover, Eritrea finds it ironic that the Council has chosen to remain silent on Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories for 15 years, while it harasses Eritrea on account of a putative border dispute with Djibouti.
The message from those who supported this resolution to the people of Eritrea is loud and clear: Eritrea has done no wrong; nor has it violated UN Security Council resolution, yet the sanctions will be kept with the mere purpose of targeting Eritrea. Equally, the message for the citizens of the region is clear: there is no willingness from the Council to address the core issues that are undermining peace and security in the region. The emphasis by some Council members about alleged support to armed group is inappropriate, double standard, and unacceptable. It will reward, aggression, occupation, policy of destabilization and regime change; and provocation. It will encourage the perpetuation of zero-sum games.
This is unfortunate. More importantly, it will be viewed as discredit to this organ which is mandated the critical task of maintaining international peace and security.
The Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region remains volatile and fragile. Eritrea is making its modest but significant contribution to stabilizing the region. However, it is critical to examine whether the sanction that has been in place for the past eight years against Eritrea is abating conflicts or fueling them. Evidently, the sanction has worsened the situation by rewarding an aggressor and breeding a sense of impunity on Ethiopia. It meant the continuation of the conflict with its resultant heavy price on the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as complicating the regional security situation. Eritrea once again calls on the Council, in the interests not only of Eritrea, but also Ethiopia, the sub-region, Africa and the Red Sea, to redress this wrong.
Regional peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea is first and foremost the responsibility of the countries in the region. Eritrea will continue its constructive engagement and contribution towards ensuring a peace, amity and progress in our region. Eritrea’s conviction stems from the belief that a conducive environment is essential to its all-inclusive and people centered development.
I wish to conclude by thanking those delegations who did not support this politically motivated and counterproductive resolution that the Council just adopted.
I thank you Mr. President