UNSC lifts asset freeze, travel ban imposed on Eritrea after 9 years
The United Nations Security Council in a unanimous vote has agreed to lift the sanctions imposed against Eritrea, after nine years. The Security Council had imposed an arms embargo, asset freeze and a travel ban on Eritrea, amidst claims that the nation, supported al-Shabab militants in Somalia.
The United Nations Security Council in a unanimous vote on November 14, 2018 agreed to lift the sanctions imposed against Eritrea, after nine years.
The Security Council had imposed an arms embargo, asset freeze and a travel ban on Eritrea, amidst claims that the northeast African nation, supported al-Shabab militants in Somalia. However, Eritrea has always denied the accusations.
• The 15-member UNSC adopted a UK-drafted Resolution 2444, calling for an end to the nine-year-old embargo on the impoverished country as it rebuilds relations with its neighbouring nation Ethiopia following almost decades of animosity, conflict and standoff.
• Eritrea and Ethiopia had both agreed to sign a peace deal in July 2018, ending a long stalemate resulting from the war between the two from 1998 to 2000 that had led to the killing of an estimated 100,000 people.
• The United Nations had first imposed restrictions on Eritrea in 2009 after the nation was accused of supporting armed terrorist groups, including Somalia's al-Shabab.
• Eritrea had also been criticised for human rights abuses and mandatory national service conscription, which had led tens of thousands of young Eritreans to flee the country for Europe.
• The Eritrean government had criticised the designation as baseless. UN investigators also said that there is no evidence that Eritrea has supported terrorism in the past five years.
• Hence, in a relief move, UNSC lifted the embargo, travel bans and asset freezes imposed on the nation with immediate effect. The Security Council also renewed its arms embargo against Somalia.
• The draft resolution adopted by the council also urged Eritrea and another African nation Djibouti to work towards normalising ties and settling a decade-old border dispute, the progress of which will have to be reported back to the council by February 15, 2018 and then every six months.
The nine-year-long asset freeze and travel ban affected not only individuals and businesses in Eritrea but also the Eritrean leadership.
Hence, the removal of sanctions could help Eritrea and its population of 3.2 million participate more actively in the global banking system and could attract foreign investment.
In recent years, Eritrea has been a major source of migrants escaping to Europe and neighboring countries.
The African nations of Eritrea and Djibouti had agreed in September 2018 to work on reconciling with each other.
Deadly clashes had broken out between the two Horn of Africa countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Eritrea of moving troops across the border.
The development occurred after Eritrea and Ethiopia declared an end to their state of war in July 2018 and agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities.
The Security Council had welcomed the renewed ties in a statement at the time, but it had stopped short of pledging that it could review sanctions after the United States, China, Britain, France and Ivory Coast raised concerns about linking the development. Both the United States and China have military bases in Djibouti.
A November 2017 Security Council resolution had said that the peaceful settlement of the border dispute would be a factor in any review of sanctions on Eritrea.