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Eritrea slams Ethiopia, IGAD over fresh sanction calls

July 9, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) - Eritrea has dismissed calls by East African countries for more sanctions against the Red Sea nation over allegations that it is playing a destabilising role in the region.

Earlier this week, leaders of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD ) - which includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia - who met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa and made fresh calls on the AU and UN to impose additional sanctions against Eritrea.

The sanctions are expected to focus Eritrea’s economic and mining sector and other foreign financial sources to cripple the regime’s negative activities mainly in Somalia.

In a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs on Wednesday, Asmara denied the charges saying any evidence brought against Eritea had been fabricated by its rival Ethiopia, the current IGAD chair.

“Ethiopia furnishes no evidence for its preposterous charges against Eritrea, which in any case is totally unfounded” said the statement attacking the position of the regional bloc.

“Although the statement was issued in the name of IGAD, the anti-Eritrea campaign was and continues to be spearhead by Ethiopia.”

Eritrea in its statement appealed on the AU Peace and Security Council to reject what it said was Ethiopia’s anti-Eritrea campaign and to uphold the latest AU Summit decisions.

The UN Security Council last year imposed sanctions against the Red Sea nation for allegedly supporting hard line Islamic insurgents in Somalia including Al-Shabab – a group believed to have links with the international terrorism network, Al-Qaeda.

However IGAD member states in their latest summit said the current sanctions imposed against Eritrea lack effective implementation – unanimously calling for “all appropriate measures to ensure that the regime in Asmara stops its destabilization activities in the Horn of Africa”.

Eritrea suspended IGAD membership in 2007 blaming the seven member body of failing to bring peace to the region and also in protest to IGAD backing Ethiopia to invade Somalia.

Eritrea has also boycotted the African Union (AU) for over ten years in protest to what it alleged was AU’s ‘failure’ to condemn Ethiopia for violations of a peace agreement that ended the neighbors devastating 1998-2000 war over disputed territory.

Earlier this year Eritrea re-established an envoy to Ethiopia to represent the country at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The latest appeal to AU council presented by Eritrea’s Ambassador said the call for sanctions against Eritrea runs counter to the spirit of African solidarity that pervaded the latest Summit as well as the work of the African Union

“It is particularly sinister and detestable, in light of the AU’s efforts –and Summit decisions- to promote economic development and foster the contribution of African Diaspora Communities” it added.

(ST)