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Ethiopia requests UN to lift Eritrea sanctions

Wednesday July 11, 2018

Ethiopia has formally submitted a request to the United Nations to lift a decade-old sanctions imposed on Eritrea.

Returning from his Asmara historic visit on Monday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed handed a letter to visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Addis Ababa.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions against Eritrea in 2009 for an alleged tie with the Somalia extremist groups.

Military service

Mr Guterres expressed his hope that the Security Council would soon lift the sanctions.

“If the reasons that led to the sanctions will no longer exist ... they will naturally become obsolete,” Mr Guterres told reporters.
The sanctions were primarily economic and travel ban on targeted military service members and selected officials.

In 2016, a UN investigation team issued a report declaring there was no conclusive evidence to punish Eritrea for alleged ties with Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants.

Punish Asmara

However, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia and the US and the UK pushed for the extension of the sanctions.

The latest move by Ethiopia to normalise its relations with Eritrea has paved the way to ending the latter's isolation by the international community.

Eritrea consistently disputed the sanctions as unjust and serving the US's desire to punish Asmara.

Eritrea and the US have had strained relations since the late 1990s after Washington sided with Ethiopia during the border war.

Their embassies

The US last April sent its top envoy, Mr Donald Yamamoto, to Eritrea as part of an effort to re-establish better relations.

The US, along with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have in the past weeks also facilitated the behind the scenes talks between Asmara and Addis.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have agreed to reopen their embassies, start direct flights from next week, restore direct telecommunication access and allow free movement of their people.

Ministerial taskforces have been established to work out on border and security issues as well as the details of future economic ties between the two neighbours.


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