|[Published: Tuesday October 09 2012]
Eritrea calls for lifting of UN sanctions
New York, 9 Oct - (ANA) - Eritrea has asked the U.N. Security Council to lift sanctions against it after a recent U.N. experts' report showed that the tiny east African state had cut its support for the al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab militant group in Somalia.
But in a letter yesterday, Eritrea also slammed the report - which probes violations of arms embargoes on Eritrea and Somalia - for "falsely accusing the government of Eritrea for violations that are not substantiated with solid evidence."
The Security Council imposed an embargo on Eritrea in 2009 over concerns its government was funding and arming al Shabaab - charges Asmara denied. The U.N. experts' report released in July said that support has evaporated.
Eritrea responded in the letter to the 15-member council, dated September 27, saying sanctions should be removed as "the initial and principal accusation concerning Eritrean support to al Shabaab has now proven to be non-existent."
Eritrea, which declared independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long war, is routinely accused by Addis Ababa of supporting Ethiopian separatists. Eritrea says the accusations are false and aim to tarnish its reputation.
Ethiopia and Eritrea had another war from 1998 to 2000. The two countries' border disputes have yet to be resolved.
Asmara has blamed Ethiopia for the sanctions drive against it and the rivals have frequently clashed as they seek to influence events in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops are among African forces fighting al Shabaab. (ANA)
FA/ANA/9 October 2012-----------------