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UN Security Council removes Eritrea sanctions by year

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – UN Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift a close decade of arms embargo and…

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – UN Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift a close decade of arms embargo and targeted sanctions against Eritrea after a deal with Ethiopia and thawing relations with Djibouti.

A seller sells bananas to a customer in his food store in Asmara, Eritrea in this photo taken February 21

, 2016. Image taken February 21, 2016. REUTERS / Thomas Mukoya

The UK-based resolution also called for Eritrea and Djibouti to work against normalizing bands and resolve a border dispute. It urges the Secretary General Antonio Guterres to report to the Council on progress by 15 February and thereafter every six months.

The measures against Eritrea – which include a travel ban and freeze on certain persons and entities – was introduced in 2009 after U.N. experts accused it of supporting armed groups in Somalia. Eritrea has denied the allegations.

UK UN Ambassador Karen Pierce said the resolution “acknowledges the improvements in regional peace and security”.

“It’s not just a very important step for countries in the region, I think it sends a useful wider signal to the international community that sanctions can be taken if sanctions are taken,” said Pierce.

The Security Council currently has more than a dozen sanction systems, including actions in North Korea.

Eritrea’s information minister Yemane Meskel published on Twitter: “The Eritrea government welcomes this delayed decision to resolve injustice, almost a decade after immortal actions were made incubate unpredictable damage to the country.”

Dutch UN ambassador Karel van Oosterom told reporters that the Council’s action gives Eritrea a “good foundation for improving the human rights situation”. Eritrea has long denied UN accusations of crime, including alleged extrajudicial death and torture.

The resolution also eliminates the need for countries to ensure that people or companies working in Eritrea’s mining sector prevent money from being redirected and used to undermine peace and security in the region.

In July, Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to their wartime and agreed to open embassies, develop ports, and continue flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities.

“All this may mean that Eritreans can live normally again, which may mean that young people may not need to be soldiers again,” said Eritrea’s refugee Luwam, 27, on sanctions and peace agreements with Ethiopia. “It’s my hope,” said Luwam , an eritrean refugee who crossed in Sudan before entering Ethiopia last month.

Eritrea and Djibouti agreed in September to work to reconcile. Lethal conflicts broke out among African countries in June 2008 after Djibouti accused Asmara to move troops across the border.

Both the United States and China have military bases in Djibouti.

The United Arab Emirates has a military base in Eritrea, which has been used as part of the Saudi rival offensive against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which is only 40 km (25 miles) above the Red Sea from the Horn of Africa.

In a report to the Security Council last month, the UN Sanctions Monitor showed that a continued expa nsion of the Assab military base violates the arms embargo against Eritrea, as it does not “allow military activities by Member States involving the transfer of military equipment and personnel to Eritrea territory. “

UN mission from the United Arab Emirates said at the time the country was” in full compliance with the sanctions imposed. “Eritrea refused to allow UN monitors to visit the country.

Further reporting by Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa and Lordward Holland and Omar Mohammed in Nairobi; Editing Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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