The Security Council held a meeting yesterday to discuss a new report from the Secretary General on progress (or lack there of) of the peace process in Somalia. During the meeting, UK Ambassador John Sawers (who will be leaving the UK-UN mission to lead MI-5) recommended sanctions against Eritrea, which he accuses of destabilizing Somalia by sponsoring a militant group that is trying to overthrow the fragile Somali government. The United States seems to be on board. At the meeting, Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo (who is sort of Susan Rice’s number two) said:
Al-Shabaab and other extremist groups, fueled by outside actors, have caused numerous deaths and violated the rights of Somali citizens with impunity—including by assaulting, detaining, and illegally arresting civilians.
The issue of outside actors is a serious one. The Somalia Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group has reported that Eritrea has provided political, financial, and military support to armed opposition groups in Somalia. Efforts by the international community to engage the Eritrean government on its regional relations have been rebuffed. It is time for the international community to consider ways to address Eritrea’s destabilizing impact on Somalia and the region.
There is not much love lost between the UN and Eritrea ever since Eritrea kicked out UN peacekeepers and unilaterally ended the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia-Eritrea. It will be interested to see how far this movement for sanctions goes. As I’ve written before, Eritrea on its way to becoming an international pariah.