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Russia abstains from voting on UNSC sanctions against Eritrea

December 06, 2011, 17:11 UTC+3
Russia abstained during voting at the UN Security Council on sanctions resolution against Eritrea
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

UNITED NATIONS, December 6 (Itar-Tass) — Russia abstained during voting at the UN Security Council on sanctions resolution against Eritrea, because it believes that its text “contains a number of insufficiently grounded provisions,” including those relating to the involvement of this African state in the “so-called planned terror act in Addis Ababa during a summit of the African Union there” in January 2011, RF Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said at the UN Security Council.

Shortly before his speech the UN Security Council by an overwhelming majority passed Resolution 2023, which imposed additional sanctions against Eritrea, accusing it of “further support of the armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab the actions of which undermine peace and hinder reconciliation in Somalia and the region.” The draft resolution put forward by Gabon and Nigeria was approved by 13 out of 15 member countries of the UN Security Council. Russia and China abstained.

“The Russian Federation categorically rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” Churkin said, in particular. “But in this case the UN Security Council was not provided convincing evidence of Eritrea’s involvement in this.” “We do not know the results of the investigation of this incident, if it was conducted at all,” the Russian ambassador said.

In Moscow’s view, “imposing sanctions is an extreme measure.” “Before resorting to the imposition of sanctions, it is necessary to maximally use the political and diplomatic methods of work,” said Churkin. In this connection the RF permanent representative to the United Nations called on Eritrea and its neighbours “to start an open and transparent discussion of all key issues for improving the situation in this part of the African continent.”

According to a UN press release, the Security Council on Monday placed additional sanctions on Eritrea for continuing to provide support to armed groups seeking to destabilize Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa, building on the arms and travel embargoes it imposed exactly two years ago. The resolution followed an earlier meeting on Monday at which the Council heard a briefing from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The Council expressed its grave concern in the text that “Eritrea has continued to provide political, financial, training and logistical support to armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, engaged in undermining peace, security and stability in Somalia and the region.”It also condemned the planned terrorist attack of January 2011 to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, as expressed by the findings of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group in July.

It also condemned the planned terrorist attack of January 2011 to disrupt the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, as expressed by the findings of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group in July.

The group found that the Eritrean Government “conceived, planned, organized and directed a failed plot” to disrupt the summit by bombing a series of civilian and governmental targets.

In December 2009, the Council adopted a resolution which imposed sanctions on Eritrea for supporting insurgents trying to topple the government in nearby Somalia. The measures included an arms embargo on Eritrea, travel bans on the country’s top political and military officials, and the freezing of assets of some of its senior political and military officials.

By the resolution, which was sponsored by Gabon and Nigeria, the Council condemned Eritrea’s violations of earlier resolutions, according to the UN.

It demanded that it “cease all direct or indirect efforts to destabilize States,” including through financial, military, intelligence and non-military assistance, such as the provision of training centres and camps for armed groups, passports, living expenses, or travel facilitation, it says.

The Council also voiced concern at the potential use of the Eritrean mining sector as a source of finance to destabilize the Horn of Africa. It decided that States should take measures to ensure that their companies involved in mining in Eritrea exercise “due diligence” so that funds derived from the sector are not used to destabilize the region. In addition, the Council called on Eritrea to engage constructively with Djibouti to resolve their border dispute.

According to the UNSC, by further terms of the text, the Council expressed its intention to apply targeted sanctions against individuals and entities that meet the listing criteria set out in paragraph 15 of resolution 1907 (2009) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2002 (2011). (Together, those resolutions imposed an arms embargo, as well as a travel ban and assets freeze on Eritrea’s political and military leaders, and expanded the sanctions regime to include individuals and entities recruiting or using child soldiers in Somalia’s armed conflicts, and targeting civilians or committing attacks against schools and hospitals.)

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