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Eritrea rejects new UN sanctions

07 December 2011, 11:00

Addis Ababa - Eritrea on Tuesday rejected increased UN Security Council sanctions on charges that it supports insurgents in war-torn Somalia, saying the decision will worsen tensions in the Horn of Africa region.

The Security Council on Monday approved further sanctions raising the number of people and entities that can be hit with travel bans and asset freezes.

"The resolution is yet another injustice perpetrated on the Eritrean people, and it will heighten tensions and stoke an already explosive situation in the Horn of Africa," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

However, arch-foe Ethiopia welcomed the sanctions, accusing Asmara of destabilising the region.

"This country, Eritrea, the leadership is a source of instability for the region so everyone is concerned," Ethiopian foreign affairs spokesperson Dina Mufti told AFP.

"Igad is concerned, the AU is concerned and the international community is concerned," Dina added, referring to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development - an East African bloc - and the African Union.

Eritrea has been accused of supporting Somalia's Shabaab Islamist militants with money and weapons, while a UN sanctions monitoring group has also linked Asmara to a bomb plot against an AU summit in Addis Ababa in January.

US to blame

Eritrea has repeatedly denied all such claims, and instead accused the United State of trying to target it through sanctions.

"It has become evident to everyone at the Security Council, the sanctions were as a result of undisguised United States hostility towards Eritrea," the statement added.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1993 and fought a border war with its neighbour from 1998 to 2000 which continues to poison relations.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have accused Eritrea of supporting the Shabaab.

Kenya in October sent troops and tanks to southern Somalia to battle the Shabaab following a spate of attacks and kidnappings that Nairobi blames on the Islamist rebels.

Ethiopian troops are also reported to have rolled into Somalia last month to fight the al-Qaeda-linked militants.


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