Diplomats at the Security Council praised current coordinator of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), Dr. Jarat Chopra, for his more relaxed and transparent approach to engage Eritrea.
Last summer, the group got into a problem with some permanent members when it presents its final report on Eritrea and Somalia to the Council.
Russia called the report ‘ludicrous’ and blocked from publishing it for weeks saying the report on Eritrea is “biased and contains groundless conclusions and recommendations.” It was also trashed by the UK as “not brilliant” followed by Italy and China for the report’s “misleading and undocumented accusations”.
It looks like Chopra has learned from past mistakes of the intrusive group as it knows well that it can no longer hide behind its inability to visit Eritrea as an excuse for such ‘ludicrous’ reports despite Eritrea’s full engagement with the group through its mission in the UN in discharging its mandates.
Under such realization, the SEMG convened two successful meetings with representatives of the Eritrean government. The first one was on December 8th 2013 in Paris and the second on February 14th 2014 in Cairo.
Various reports indicates that the discussions were constructive and centered on the Monitoring Group’s cooperation and it next engagement with the Government of Eritrea. It also touched on issues around the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and the mandate of the Monitoring Group.
In the face of all available intelligence revealing no Eritrea contact with Somalia since 2009, the Monitoring Group finds it convenient to regularly meet outside of Eritrea and discuss on substantive issues under the auspices of the Chairman of the Sanction Committee than its previous insistence to have an investigative visit to Asmara.
Eritrea expects the new group to discharge its mandate in an objective and professional manner.
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In a related news,
Eritrea: Sanction Monitor Quit or Fired?
By Natna (Sam B.),
Somalia and Eritrea Sanction Group Committee – a.k.a. Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea – held a closed-door Informal consultation with the Security Council today, Friday February 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM New York City time.
More importantly however there is conformation that the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) is making important changes to its experts panel.
It is not clear if these changes are as a result of the shoddy work by the group, that incensed many within the Security Council by producing a clearly biased report on Eritrea.
It is also not clear if the monitoring group’s arms expert for Eritrea was fired or quit as a result of this issue.
Ban Ki Moon informed the Security Council that Joakim Gundel from Denmark as of February 2014 replaced Cornelis Steenken, the previous arms expert for Eritrea.
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