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OEA Calls on the UN Security Council to lift 5-year old Unjust Sanctions

December 23, 2014

Your Excellency,

As members of the Organization of Eritrean Americans (OEA) we would like to call upon you to lift the two UN Security Council Resolutions 1907 (2009) and 2023 (2011) imposed to sanction Eritrea and the people of Eritrea based on charges fabricated and orchestrated by its archenemy Ethiopia.

Though the pretext for the unjust sanctions was to “serve” peace and security in Somalia, as the past five years have made it clear, punishing innocent Eritrea based on false premises has neither brought peace to Somalia nor security to the Horn of Africa. The very forces that orchestrated lies against Eritrea are still wreaking havoc in the region. Former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and veteran Ambassador Herman Cohen, who has had many years of experience and intimate knowledge of the region, said it well last year: “Those of us who know Eritrea well, understand that the Eritrean leadership fears Islamic militancy as much as any other country in the Horn of Africa region.”

In short, there was no, and there still is no “intelligence, real or fabricated”, that links Eritrea to Al Shabab or any form of extremism in the region other than that what the Ethiopians provided the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group. And with the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group we are talking of a group that has lots of problems when it comes to credibility. As Ambassador Doctor Mashabane of South Africa put it in 2011, this is a group that cannot “execute its responsibilities and mandate with professionalism, impartiality and objectivity.” This is a Monitoring Group that is influenced left and right “by political considerations outside of its mandate”. The disgraceful exits of Dinesh Mahtani (its financial expert), earlier this fall, after he was caught red-handed advocating for regime change in Eritrea on behalf of the UN, and before that the firing of coordinator Matt Bryden for his dubious behavior as a monitor, are two cases that show this monitoring group has completely lost its legitimacy as an impartial UN investigative body.

As the leaked U.S. diplomatic cables clearly show, Resolution 1907 (2009) was incubated in the U.S. and hatched in Ethiopia. Eritrea was supposedly punished for helping Somalia insurgents with weapons, yet the UN’s own report admits that: “Eighty percent of ammunition available at the Somali arms markets was supplied by TFG and Ethiopian troops, …’. The monitoring committee received details of some 25 military flights by Ethiopia into Somalia and knew that Ethiopian troops had brought military equipment into the country to arm ‘friendly clans.”

The same is true with Resolution 2023 (2011). It was adopted under the false accusations of Ethiopia and Kenya against Eritrea. On the accusation from Ethiopia, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, said the day Resolution 2023 (2011) was adopted on December 5, 2011 that “the Security Council was not presented with convincing proof of Eritrea’s involvement in that incident. We have not seen the results of any investigation of that incident, if indeed there was one.” On the accusations from Kenya, the UN Monitoring group itself admitted that the “[Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group] has found no evidence to substantiate allegations that Eritrea supplied Al-Shabaab with arms and ammunition by air in October and November 2011. No evidence to substantiate the allegations that one or more aircraft landed at Baidoa International Airport between 29 October and 3 November 2011, or that Eritrea supplied Al-Shabaab in Baidoa by air with arms and ammunition during the same period.”

Surely, the United Nations Security Council, as an organ established to maintain peace and security in the world, should never punish nations and people based on what it knows too well is based on fabrications. Eritrea, as a nation that has faced its fair share of destabilization attempts by foreign religious extremists, is the most reliable partner the UN can have for peace and security in the Horn of Africa. It deserves the Security Council’s encouragement and positive engagement, definitely not sanctions based on lies. Thus, it is time that you take the lead in the UN Security Council to terminate these illegal sanctions against the hard working people of Eritrea.

There was no rational justification to impose the sanctions in the first place, and there is even less rational explanation to maintain them now. The fact that the SEMG (Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group) has come out in the open and admitted that there is no credible evidence that links Eritrea to Somalia in its past three reports is another reason to do away with them. Thus we feel the immediate and unconditional lifting of these sanctions is long over due.

In addition, the UN Security Council, as one of the guarantors of the Algiers Agreement, has an obligation to compel Ethiopia to immediately and unconditionally vacate the sovereign Eritrean territories it is illegally occupying, including the town of Badme. No nation, large or small, should be allowed to get away with breaking international law and UN Security Council Resolutions.

Furthermore, the OEA is convinced that a long-term and fruitful relationship between Eritrea and the other nations in the region is essential for maintaining peace and security, and fighting off poverty and extremism in the Horn of Africa. Therefore, we ask you and the other members of the UN Security Council to do what is moral and ethical by lifting these unjust sanctions.