Leaked Ethiopian Memo Echoes UNSC Members’ Positions on Eritrea Sanctions

Without the vigorous support of the United States Government, Ethiopia does not possess the regional or global diplomatic clout to defy international law
Without the vigorous support of the United States Government, Ethiopia does not possess the regional or global diplomatic clout to defy international law

By Matthew Russell Lee,

ON THE eve of the UN Security Council’s meeting on the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, the buzz from the Horn of Africa has grown about an Ethiopian Minister of Foreign affairs memo about Eritrea and sanctions.

As obtained by Inner City Press, the memo by Ethiopian Minister Berhane Gebrekiristos bragged that “the P3 countries have been supportive of sanctions against Eritrea… The former US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice, was instrumental in adopting the sanctions. The current US Permanent Representative, Ambassador Samantha Power, may not be as strong on Eritrea. But since Ambassador Susan Rice is serving as the National Security Adviser of President Obama, she will ensure the continuation of the US’s policy of sanctions Eritrea.”

The memo goes on, “France has supported the imposition of sanctions against Eritrea, primarily due to the conflict with Djibouti.” It says “meetings with the UK Permanent Representatives have confirmed that the UK will not change its position.”

Non-permanent members are also reviewed: “the Eritrean president has participated in the independence day of Chad in 2011 but we don’t believe Chad will be supportive of Eritrea’s efforts to lift the sanctions.”

Then, “Lithuania has a good relationship with the US and as a member of the EU it tends to implement the common position of the Union… Australia and South Korea tend to take positions similar to that of the US. Jordan has assigned non-resident Ambassador to Eritrea… During its previous membership of the UNSC, Chile had expressed that in accordance to international law Eritrea has a better legal case.”

One problem, the memo says, is the last report of the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group: “Italy, Norway, Kenya and Somalia who were mentioned in the report also criticized the Group. The Group’s reports exposed the rampant corruption in the Somali Government.”

As Inner City Press first reported, Somalia asked that the chair of the SEMG be fired; Kenya declared one of the Group’s members persona non-grata.

So, the Ethiopian memo counsels, Ethiopian diplomats should “facilitate the resolution of the misunderstanding the group has with Kenya and Somalia.” Good luck.

Now, the Council’s set to meet behind closed doors about the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group on July 11.

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