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UN NEWS

28 June 2010 – Eritrea deserves credit for its recent constructive engagement with its neighbours and the international community, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report in which he urges the country to provide evidence that it is complying with a Security Council resolution that imposed sanctions for the country’s destabilizing activities in Djibouti and Somalia.“Despite the Government of Eritrea’s long-standing positions on Somalia and Djibouti, it has recently taken a number of steps towards constructive engagement with its neighbours and the wider international community,” Mr. Ban says in a report to the Security Council on Eritrea’s compliance on resolution 1907, issued in January last year.

“While recent developments represent a move in the right direction, I urge the Government of Eritrea to do more to provide evidence of its compliance with resolution 1907 and the practical measures set out in it,” the Secretary-General says.

The resolution imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea and a travel ban and an assets freeze on Eritrean political and military leaders who violated the embargo, provided support to armed opposition groups destabilizing the region or obstructed implementation of a previous Council resolution that demanded that Eritrea withdrawal its troops from Djibouti.

The resolution followed a request by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) for the Council to take such action.

The positive steps referred to by the Secretary-General include Eritrea’s reception of the Sanctions Committee in Asmara, its participation in the Istanbul Conference on Somalia, and its engagement in regional mediation efforts led by Qatar on Eritrea’s border dispute with Djibouti.

“I am encouraged that Eritrea is now engaging in an effort to arrive at a peaceful resolution to the border conflict and normalize relations with Djibouti,” Mr. Ban writes.

However, he notes that the UN’s ability to verify Eritrea’s compliance with resolution 1907 is very limited, and expresses hope that the new monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea, which will be established in due course, will provide for independent monitoring and reporting on the implementation of measures imposed by the resolution.

The Secretary-General also welcomes recent reports that indicate that Eritrea is taking measures to restore its representation at the headquarters of the AU and encourages the Horn of Africa country to make a similar effort in re-establishing its membership in IGAD.

“Eritrea’s enhanced engagement with regional organizations and international partners would be an important contribution to strengthening peace and stability in the Horn of Africa,” he adds.

He says that long-term peace and stability in the region require a comprehensive approach to address the interlinked conflicts.