UK warns Eritrea over detained British nationals
April. 06 2011
Britain warned Eritrea on Tuesday it would take "robust action" if it was not granted consular access to four UK nationals held in the African country since December.
Foreign minister Henry Bellingham said Britain had received no information about the four men detained on December 24 by the Eritrean navy in an apparent dispute over the non-payment of fuel.
British media reports have said four ex-Royal Marines were arrested after a gun battle as they guarded a merchant ship from pirates in the Indian Ocean.
Bellingham said consular access to check on the men's welfare should have been granted within 48 hours under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, signed by both Britain and Eritrea.
"That we should not have received any response at all from the Eritrean authorities after nearly four months is deeply troubling," Bellingham told parliament.