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In the afternoon hours of Wednesday 30 November 2011, members of the UN Security Council were suddenly summoned and asked to immediately endorse a resolution drafted by Gabon and the United States designed to tighten sanctions resolution against Eritrea.

The ploy came as a surprise to the members of the Council. Whereas the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Vitaly Churkin, declared: “We were asked to approve the draft following a very sudden summons; we could not understand why in such a hectic manner.” Similarly, many members of the Council did not accept the very rush move either. And certainly, why the need to adopt a resolution in a hasty and restless way? As close observers assert, the reason behind adopting a resolution on Wednesday pm. is that the Presidency of the Security Council is scheduled to be handed over to Russia from Portugal. Thus, is it because it was ‘deemed’ an opportune moment to press for the adoption of the resolution before Russia assumes the Presidency?

As stipulated in Article 32 of the UN Charter, “Any State, be it a UN member or not, is entitled to appear before the Council to defend its case whenever an issue concerning it is presented to the Security Council”. Why deny Eritrea, a member of the United Nations, this very right? In opposition to the move, China’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Li Baoding, declared: “We do not accept any resolution adopted in haste… it is proper that we invite the President of Eritrea to appear before the Council in person and explain the matter”.

ll members of the Security Council, with the exception of the United States, have not only opposed the adoption of a resolution on an issue of major importance like that of sanctions but also underlined as being illogical denying the leader of the state concerned the right to appear before the Council and explain the case.

In the wake of mounting opposition, the US Ambassador to the UN was compelled to heed the obligation that the United States, as host country, is “obliged to issue a visa to any Head of State wishing to visit the UN Headquarters”.

It is to be recalled that the unjust anti-Eritrea UN sanctions resolution 1907 was adopted in the end of 2009 under similar hectic circumstances, i.e. on the eve of Christmas merriment through misleading members of the Security Council. This time too, resort is being made to a repetition of the same drama. But why opt for adopting resolutions in such a bizarre manner?

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 December 2011