Eritrea Dismisses US Sanctions on Shabaab-linked Suspects

US froze US-based assets of Col. Tewolde Habte Negash and Col. Taeme Abraham Goitom?!?!? … LOL

By Capital FM,

Eritrea on Saturday denounced as unfounded US sanctions imposed on two Eritrean government officials accused of links to al-Qaeda affiliated Somali rebels.

They had been targeted “not because there is a shred of truth or material evidence to the false accusations heaped upon them” but because the US wanted to give the impression it was tightening its sanctions, said a statement. 

The United Nations had failed to establish the truth of the allegations, the foreign ministry statement added, describing the imposition of sanctions a “sinister ploy.”

On Thursday, the US imposed sanctions on six alleged backers of the Shebab rebels in Somalia, including Eritrean military officials Col. Tewolde Habte Negash and Col. Taeme Abraham Goitom.

They froze US-based assets of the six, and forbade any US business or individual from having dealings with them.

The sanctions were aimed at helping halt the conflict in Somalia and helping dismantle the Shabaab, said the US Treasury.

But the Eritrean statement denounced what it said were “hostile acts”.

They were, it said, “part and parcel of the persistent policy of the United States to destabilize Eritrea and undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity in pursuit of misguided regional objectives.”

Asmara called on other countries to lobby against the inappropriate actions by the US and the UN against Eritrea.

A UN report last year accused the increasingly isolated Horn of Africa country of funding Shebab rebels in Somalia and gave details of what it said was a failed bomb plot on the African Union in Addis Ababa.
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1. The current UN Human Rights Session in Geneva was virtually turned into a venue for intensive lobbying by US State Department officials in their dogged attempts to sully Eritrea’s image and to ram through a “resolution” to condemn it for numerous, fabricated, allegations of “gross violation of human rights”.   This new ploy originates from the desire to open a “new front” so as to tighten, or at least maintain, the unwarranted UN Security Council Resolutions (1907 and 2023) that the US had managed to impose against Eritrea in the past three years.  The timing is deliberately calibrated to coincide with the pending review of these resolutions by the UN Security Council in July or August.

2.  Earlier in the preceding weeks, the US mission to New York employed heavy-handed means to compel the UN Secretary General’s Office to withdraw the Report on Eritrea that was issued on 8 June last month. Operative Paragraph 19 of Resolution 2023 requests the Secretary General “to report within 180 days on Eritrea’s compliance with the provisions” of these resolutions.   The Report under consideration was issued formally on that date in accordance with this directive and after it went through the usual consultation processes.  Yet the US Representative to the UN reportedly resorted to unorthodox tactics to pressurize the Secretary General’s Office to remove the Report from the UN website and to meekly inform UNSC members that a “revised report” will be resubmitted in early July.   Several members of the Security Council questioned the “rationale  and wisdom of the embarrassing  act“, warned that the “unhelpful  precedence would entail undesirable ramifications”, and urged for the case to be handled with “transparency, neutrality and objectivity“.3.  On June 26, the “Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group” submitted its report to the UN Sanctions Committee.   As it will be recalled, Eritrea had requested for the replacement of this body as it was found wanting in the minimum standards of neutrality, objectivity, professionalism and credibility.  But this is not the point here.   As long as the “Monitoring  Group” is authorized to submit its lopsided reports, Eritrea has the right and should at any time have unfettered access to these reports.   This is a matter of principle and law. Established procedures and the principle of “equality of arms” indeed dictate that Eritrea receive, in real time, copies of any accusations leveled against it. However, pressure  from the same US officials prevented  the Chair of the UN  Sanctions  Committee  from  observing  this  rudimentary  right  and  to ignore, with profuse regrets, Eritrea’s express requests.4.  In the same vein, US Secretary of State falsely blamed Eritrea on June 16th for “human  trafficking” including it in its blacklist of  16 other  countries. Leaving aside whether the United States has the moral or legal prerogatives to categorize sovereign countries for whatever “misdeeds” it chooses to pick out, its accusations of Eritrea for “human trafficking” is baffling at best.  The fact is Washington  has been openly pursuing, in the past years, a hostile policy of enticing Eritrean youth to seek asylum in the United States.   The US Bureau for Refugee Affairs allocates, on an annual basis, around 10,000 slots for “Eritrean potential applicants who dodge military draft” for asylum in the United States.  US Embassies in Khartoum and Nairobi routinely issue entry visas for Eritreans without verifYing whether they have exit visas from their home country in contravention of normative  consular practices.   It is thus  the United  States  which  is culpable  for  an  elaborate  programme  of “human  trafficking”  to  advance  its sinister  objectives  in  Eritrea  and  the region.

5.  On July 3, the UN Sanctions Committee included the personal details of two Eritrean  military  officials  in its new list of  persons  allegedly  “associated with  terrorist  activities”  in  Somalia.    The  circulated  document  does  not indicate who the plaintiffs are.  Nor does it establish the veracity of the allegations.     It merely tries to ensure, through what is known  as a “silent motion“,  to validate  the accusations “unless  there is an objection  from  a member  State  of the Sanctions  Committee within  48 hours“.   Again,  the game plan and sinister ploys are transparent.  The Eritrean military officials are targeted not because there is a shred of truth or material evidence to the false  accusations  heaped  upon  them,  but  mainly  because  it  evokes  the message and impression, at least in outward appearances, of a “tightening” sanctions regime.

6.  Furthermore,  US spiraling hostilities have gone beyond defamatory  media and  diplomatic  campaigns.  In  the  past  few  months,  Washington  has incessantly  encouraged  the  regime in  Ethiopia  to  launch  publicized  and reckless  military  intrusions  and  assaults on sovereign  Eritrean  territories. The primary purpose behind these provocative acts of aggression is to create an environment of confrontation and instability, and thereby dilute in the fog of war, Ethiopia’s  legal culpability for its continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories in contravention of the UN Charter and international law. But in addition, the audacious publicity of these acts, which were often accompanied  by subtle US diplomatic cover-ups,  is aimed at legitimizing and depicting these blatant acts of aggression as “proportionate and lawful measures of self-defense“.

The hostile acts enumerated above are part and parcel of the persistent policy of the  United  States  to  destabilize  Eritrea  and  to  undermine  its  sovereignty  and territorial  integrity in pursuit of its misguided regional objectives and strategies. As  we  have  underlined  in  several  of  our  previous  communications,  sovereign Eritrean   territories,  including   the  town  of  Badme,  remain   occupied   by  the Ethiopian regime in contravention of international law.   The flagrant acts of occupation and aggression by the regime in Ethiopia would have long solicited appropriate  punitive  action  by  the  Security  Council  in  accordance  with  the provisions  of  applicable   articles  of  the  UN  Charter  and  the  Algiers  Peace Agreement.   This did not occur principally because  in reality the main culprits were, and remain, successive US Administrations who have long decided to compromise and undermine international law and the fundamental rights of a UN member State in pursuit oftheir narrow regional interests and objectives.

As we have explained extensively by Eritrea in its previous communications, it is indeed a travesty of justice when the very victim of aggression and occupation is falsely framed for “acts of regional destabilization” to become a target of punitive sanctions  that  have no  basis in law  and  fact.   But  that  is precisely  what  has transpired   in   the   last   three   years   when   the   Security   Council  imposed Resolutions 1907 and 2023 on Eritrea on account of overbearing US diplomatic and political clout.

The  litany  of  these ongoing  US-inspired accusations and  vitriolic diplomatic campaigns against Eritrea constitute a continuation and escalation of these well­ trodden ploys and patterns. They are singularly aimed at fabricating new cases and opening new platforms, such as the UN Human Rights Council, for entangling Eritrea in a web of unlawful sanctions and agonizing environments. If these ploys are tolerated with impunity, the ultimate casualty will be international justice and the rule of law.

In the event, the Government of Eritrea urges all Governments to use their influences to:

1. Ensure the respect of international law and compel Ethiopia to withdraw from the occupied territories; respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea and desist from all provocative acts of aggression and military intrusion;

2. Lift the unfair sanctions that have been imposed against Eritrea as a result of the US-engineered Resolutions 1907 and 2023.

3. Ensure that the UN Security Council and other UN institutions are not inappropriately and  unlawfully instrumentalised by  the United States to advance its misguided policies against Eritrea.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Asmara, 6 July 2012
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