Sanction: Is It a Diplomatic Tool or War by other Means designed to dismantle Eritrean Independence?



This is to inform visitors to Mdre Bahri that Drs Tsegezab Gebregergis is invited by Pal-talk Room Eritrean Democracy for Positive Change to give a talk, on March 5 2016, on the Nature and Legality of the Sanctions imposed against Eritrea under the theme Sanction against Eritrea: Is It a Diplomatic Tool or War by other Means designed to dismantle Eritrean Independence?

Some Background

Following the damning but dubious Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group [SEMG] report which accused Eritrea of providing political, financial, training and logistical support to armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, engaged in undermining peace, security and stability in Somalia and the region on the eve of Christmas, Wednesday December 23 2009, at the behest of the American and Ethiopian governments, sanctions known as Resolution 1907 were put in place against Eritrea by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). These sanctions, adopted in the name of the UN, include: (1) an arms embargo; (2) travel restrictions; and (3) a freeze on the assets of Eritrea’s political and military leaders.

What is mind-boggling is that, while little Eritrea is being targeted for harsh sanctions, the main culprit, Ethiopia, is being given a political and diplomatic shield, praised and showered with economic assistance, whilst it still illegally occupies Somali and Eritrean sovereign territories in direct violation of international law and blatant contravention of the ruling of the permanent court of arbitration, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC).

Interestingly, some formerly high-ranking US government officials, including: Herman Cohen, former US Under-Secretary for African Affairs; Princeton Lyman, a diplomat and former US ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa; David Shinn, former ambassador to Ethiopia and a host of other seasoned and influential Eritrean and non-Eritrean academics, have been calling on the US government and the UN Security Council to lift the illegal and unjust sanctions imposed on Eritrea and its people.

The Questions for Discussion

The questions to be raised for in-depth discussions on March 5 2016 will thus be the following: Why were sanctions imposed against Eritrea hurriedly on the eve of Christmas in 2009 without proper discussion? Who were the principal political actors that were working overtime in order to make sanctions a reality against Eritrea?

Do the sanctions imposed against Eritrea, which include arms embargoes, have any legal and factual basis to continue for an indefinite period? What were the real political objectives of the sanctions imposed on Eritrea?

Why was Eritrea targeted for sanctions at a time when the country was on a war footing with its arch enemy, the TPLF-ruled Ethiopia? And how could it be possible that Eritrea was denied the right to purchase arms to defend its sovereignty? Is Resolution 1907 based on international law and incontrovertible facts?

Has there been an authorised fact-finding mission to Eritrea in order to verify all these assorted, politically motivated allegations? And did that body submit its findings to all members of the Security Council before the Council voted for Resolution 1907, or has the UN accepted uncritically the intelligence reports of those powers that have an axe to grind against Eritrea and its leaders?

And why were sanctions not applied against the main guilty party, Ethiopia, the country which is disturbing the peace and stability of the whole Horn of Africa region and illegally occupying sovereign Eritrean territories in clear violation of international law and norms? In other words, what is the legal and factual basis, if any, which prompted the UN to impose sanctions against Eritrea? In a country where everything is owned and run by a one-party state, including import/export businesses, is Resolution 1907 a de facto sanction against the Eritrean people? In other words, in the particular Eritrean case, is it not true that what hurts the government hurts the Eritrean people even more? Last but not least, what should be the political stand of Eritrean nationalists on the pressing issue of sanctions against Eritrea?

All Eritreans are invited and very welcome to participate in the planned discussions.

Date: Saturday March 5 2016

Time: 18.30 British time, 20.30 Berlin time

Place:Pal-talk Room Eritrean Democracy for Positive Change