[UN Official VIDEO] Lifting sanctions against Eritrea, UN Security Council

The Security Council today (14 Nov) unanimously adopted a resolution lifting the arms embargoes, travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions on Eritrea, while reaffirming the arms embargo on Somalia.

The resolution also terminates the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) and establishes the Panel of Experts on Somalia in its stead.

Addressing the Council after the vote, The United Kingdom’s Ambassador, Karen Pierce, said “the agreement to lift sanctions on Eritrea recognized the improvements in regional peace and security and the positive steps Eritrea has taken to meet the demands of the Security Council and it is right that in the light of such developments we reconsider the measures.”

Ethiopia’s Ambassador, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, told the Council that the resolution was being adopted “at a time when a major and historical development is unfolding in the Horn of Africa.”

He said, “the breakthrough arising from the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea is already producing unprecedented and far reaching positive consequences and is significantly changing the political landscape of the Horn of Africa and beyond.”

Somalia’s Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman, for his part, called for the lifting of “the outdated sanctions on Somalia,” which he said, “is one of the longest United Nations sanctions regimes with the widest mandate.”

He added that “not only the sanctions violate the Somalis’ unity, it also not aligns with Federal Government’s policy to build capable Somali National Army.”

Eritrea’s representative, Amanuel Giorgio, said that “Eritreans will not look backwards and are not resentful” and “while mindful of the historical lessons of the past two decades, they are determined to create a peaceful and prosperous nation that is worthy of the sacrifice made for over seven decades to build a harmonious, peaceful and confident country.”

Finally, Djibouti’s Ambassador, Mohamed Siad Doualeh, said his country’s “paramount interest” is “to obtain a peaceful permanent resolution of all boundary and territorial differences, in accordance with international law.”

He recalled that “those differences arose in 2008, led to an armed conflict that year, have remained unresolved and constitute a threat to Djibouti itself, and to international peace and security.”

The lifting of sanctions on Eritrea was the culmination of regional political developments that unfolded since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace agreement in Asmara on 9 July, ending a 20-year conflict. Eritrea and Ethiopia signed an Agreement on Peace, Friendship and Comprehensive Cooperation on 16 September.