UN slaps sanctions on Eritrea
Dec. 23 2009 (Updated 11:44am)
UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council slapped an arms embargo on Eritrea Wednesday and targeted sanctions on its leaders for aiding Somali rebels and refusing to withdraw troops from its disputed border with Djibouti.
Thirteen of the council's 15 members voted in favor of Resolution 1907 but veto-wielding China abstained while Libya, the lone Arab member of the council and the current chair of the African Union, voted against
The Ugandan-drafted text bans weapons sales to and from Eritrea, while also imposing travel restrictions and asset freezes on the country's political and military leadership.
The measure demands that Asmara "cease all efforts to destabilize or overthrow, directly or indirectly" the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia.
It urges member states to conduct inspections on their territory, including seaports and airports, of "all cargo to and from Somalia and Eritrea" if there is reasonable grounds to believe the shipments contain banned weapons or related material.
The text also presses Eritrea to withdraw troops immediately from disputed territories along its frontier with Djibouti and engage in diplomatic efforts leading to "a mutually acceptable" settlement of their long-running border dispute.
It further calls on all member states, in particular Eritrea, to stop "arming, training and equipping armed groups that aim to destabilize the region or incite violence and civil strife in Djibouti," including Somalia's hardline Islamic militants.
Libya's deputy UN ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said "sanctions are not the ideal way of resolving problems" and would likely exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.