Horn of Africa unites on Eritrea sanctions lifting at UNGA

Except Djibouti that did not make an explicit appeal to the United Nations General Assembly with respect to Eritrean sanctions, Ethiopia and Somalia reiterated calls for the lifting of sanctions.

On their part, Eritrea dedicated its entire address to the sanctions with categorical demands that they have from the word go been unjustified and thus be lifted by the Security Council without delay.

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh did not mince words about the unjust nature of the sanctions and the adverse effects that it had on Eritrea’s progress and development.

In light of these important and positive developments, it is only appropriate and timely that the Security Council now seriously considers lifting the sanctions imposed on Eritrea.
Incidentally, all four nations in the Horn of Africa region sent their respective foreign ministers to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly which ends today in New York. Below are relevant portions of their respective addresses.

Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh

After announcing the July 2018 peace deal, he continued: Let me now revert to a perplexing injustice that has afflicted my country for almost a decade. I am referring to the unwarranted sanctions that were imposed on Eritrea in December 2009 and 2011 respectively.

With positive winds of peace flowing in our region, several UNSC member States are these days calling for the immediate lifting of the deplorable sanctions. The diplomatic discourse is not however fully coherent.

As it happens, some countries are looking for procedural and other pretexts and preconditions. The apparent aim is to move the goalpost and maintain the illegal sanctions on Eritrea.

He traced the genesis of the sanctions principally accusing the United States governments of being behind it and its maintenance over the years.

As I stressed earlier, the people of Eritrea have not committed a crime or transgression that impels them to seek clemency. As such, they are not only calling for the immediate rescinding of the sanctions but they are also asking, and deserve, amends for the damages incurred and opportunities forfeited, he concluded.

Ahmed Isse Awad, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia

A new dawn of leadership is at hand in the horn of Africa, and a stronger desire to bolster historical ties for common interests provides the means for effective cooperation among the countries of the Horn.

To achieve our common goal of economic progress and prosperity for the Horn of Africa, I humbly call on the UNITED NATIONS to lift all economic sanctions on our neighbor, ERITREA.

This move would ease flow of imports and exports, movement of people and businesses, and it would fulfill our vision for the successful economic integration of the region.

Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Workneh Gebeyehu

Ethiopia and Eritrea have opened a new chapter in their relationship, ending two decades of conflict. We are normalizing relations and charting a future in which our relationship will truly reflect the longstanding ties between our two peoples.

Somalia and Eritrea have reconciled their differences and re-established diplomatic relations. It marks a new relationship between the two countries. Early this month, we held a Trilateral Summit of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia in Asmara.

We Foreign Ministers then visited Djibouti, opening a new phase in relations between Djibouti and Eritrea. The AU Commission Chairperson has rightly called this a clear demonstration of the value and effectiveness of the search of African solutions to African problems.

Recently, my Prime Minister and the President of Eritrea signed a further compressive cooperation Agreement in Jeddah; and Presidents of Eritrea and Djibouti shook hands in Jeddah, ending a decade of dispute. In light of these important and positive developments, it is only appropriate and timely that the Security Council now seriously considers lifting the sanctions imposed on Eritrea.

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Contrasting with this dark picture, the Horn of Africa has experienced a succession of historical positive developments which are of nature to generate dividends for peace, reconciliation and economic development.

We welcomed the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea which ended two decades of situation of “neither war nor peace” and inaugurates a new era peace, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The positive repercussions for other inter-state conflicts in the countries of the region have been fast.

In this respect, I would like to inform this august assembly that Presidents of Djibouti and Eritrea met on 17 September in Jeddah under the auspices of His Majesty the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and agreed to open a new chapter in relations between the two brotherly countries.

At the end of this meeting and thanks to the tireless efforts of the King of Saudi Arabia and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, they agreed to continue the dialogue initiated with a view to finding a peaceful outcome to outstanding issues including frontier litigation and prisoners of war.