UN hails renewed Ethiopia Eritrea ties


The UN Security Council welcomed warming ties between Eritrea and Ethiopia, but diplomats said it stopped short of pledging it could review sanctions on Eritrea after the United States, China, Britain, France and Ivory Coast raised concerns.

On Monday, Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to their state of war and agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities.

An initial Swedish-drafted UN Security Council statement, seen by Reuters, “reaffirmed efforts by the government of Eritrea to engage with the international community enables a review of measures on Eritrea.”

Several council members raised concerns about linking the rapproachement to a sanctions review and the reference was dropped, diplomats said.

Ivory Coast wanted the statement to mention a border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti, a move supported by several other members, but it was not included, diplomats said.

Deadly clashes broke out between the Horn of Africa countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Asmara of moving troops across the border.

The UN Security Council requested both sides withdraw, before the neighbours accepted a Qatari request to mediate and deploy peacekeepers. Qatar pulled out its contingent a year ago after the East African countries sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies in their stand-off with Doha.

Ethiopia, currently a council member, said it wanted the United Nations to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

Eritrea has been subject to a UN arms embargo since 2009 after UN experts monitoring Somalia sanctions accused Eritrea of providing political, financial and logistical support to armed groups undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia.

Eritrea denied the accusations.

The 15-member Security Council is due to renew an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea in November. The council could adopt a resolution before then to lift sanctions. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, China, Russia, Britain or France.

A November 2017 resolution renewing sanctions urged Eritrea and Djibouti “to continue to maintain an atmosphere of calm and restraint and called on them to seek all available solutions to settle their border dispute peacefully.”

The resolution said the issue would be a factor in any council review of measures on Eritrea.