Posted Tuesday, December 6 2011
Kenya’s United Nations ambassador has welcomed the United Nations Security Council’s move on Monday to impose stricter sanctions on Eritrea.
The council’s strong support for a resolution backed by Kenya and its neighbouring states “vindicated the position we have had all along,” said ambassador Macharia Kamau.
The 13-0 vote in favour of tougher punishments, with Russia and China abstaining, “sends the message that if Eritrea wishes to remain part of the community of nations in our part of the world, it will have to respond to the concerns that have been expressed,” ambassador Kamau said.
The UNSC’s action affirms Kenya’s contention that Eritrea has been supplying weapons and other forms of assistance to the Al- Shabaab forces in Somalia.
Kenya’s cross-border intervention against Al-Shabaab has proved to be “a game changer,” ambassador Kamau declared.
“It has provided a real opportunity for the international community to engage more fully and effectively in Somalia.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to issue a report on Somalia later this week, which the envoy predicts will signal a commitment to a stronger UN presence inside Somalia.
The resolution approved on Monday drew the support of the United States, Britain and France as well as the three African countries — Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa — that hold rotating seats on the 15-member body.
The council had slapped sanctions on Eritrea in 2009, specifying that the country must not provide material support for anti-government forces in Somalia.
Monday’s resolution expands the list of Eritrean officials subject to travel bans as well as to an international freeze on their assets.
Eritrea has denied it is aiding Al-Shabaab and has accused Kenya of making false accusations against it. (Read: Eritrea protests against Kenya threats).