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Eritrea says lifting of sanctions 'is not enough'


Eritrea’s information ministry says the government will not ‘abandon efforts for truth and justice’, even though the United Nations has lifted sanctions it has long called ‘unjust and illegal’.

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to lift a nearly decade-old arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea after the latter made peace with Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Eritrea was congratulated by several allies including Somalia and Ethiopia, even as the information minister Yemane Meskel congratulated the Eritreans for their ‘defiance, resilience and patience’.

In the event, the UNSC shoulders a responsibility of effecting amends to the wrongs done; above and beyond the lifting of the sanctions.

‘’…pays tribute to the vigorous defiance of the people of Eritrea inside the country and abroad against injustice,’‘ read part of the statement issued by the government.

Eritrea also had kind words for its allies, including the Horn of Africa nations that recently put up a united, spirited call for the lifting of sanctions at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

READ MORE: Horn of Africa unites on Eritrea sanctions lifting at UNGA

Eritrea, United States conflict

Eritrea however had no kind words for the United States, who it has repeatedly blamed for instigating the sanctions.

‘’…why was Eritrea needlessly victimized? What were the dynamics that underpinned a travesty of international justice on this scale?’‘

Eritrea accused the United States of pursuing a divisive policy in the Horn of Africa, that it says has fuelled conflict in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

The United States State Department’s assistant secretary for Africa, in September listed the issues his government had with Eritrea, that prevented its backing for lifting of sanctions.

The issues included;

  • Detention of U.S. embassy local staff and several Americans for ‘politically-motivated reasons’.
  • Eritrea’s past weapons purchases from North Korea highlighted in a U.N. report.
  • Jailing of religious and political prisoners and indefinite, obligatory national service, as well as a tightly-controlled system of government.

Post-sanctions Eritrea

Listing the negative effects of the sanctions on the people of Eritrea, as ranging from ‘senseless border disputes’, ‘isolation campaigns’ and ‘economic strangulation’ among others, Eritrea said the UNSC bears the responsibility to make amends.

‘‘In the event, the UNSC shoulders a responsibility of effecting amends to the wrongs done; above and beyond the lifting of the sanctions,’‘ concluded the statement.

The resolution lifting sanctions also removed a requirement for countries to ensure that people or companies working in Eritrea’s mining sector prevented funds from being diverted and used to undermine peace and security in the region.

“All this could mean Eritreans can live normally again. It could mean youngsters may not need to be soldiers again,” Eritrean refugee Luwam, 27, said of the lifting of sanctions and the peace deal with Ethiopia.

Eritrea’s statement on lifting of sanctions
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