The government of Eritrea has quickly reacted to criticism from the United Nations that it is assisting the Somali militant group of Al-Shabbab and other insurgent groups that has been opposed to the transitional federal government allied to former UIC commander and current President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Late last year the United Nations imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions to Isaias Afewerki’s regime. The resolution was backed by 13 votes to 15. China abstained while Libya, the only Arab council member, voted against. The country suspended its membership of the African Union in protest at the call for sanctions in April.
In a report that is before the United Nations security general and is to be debated within this week, there are claims that Eritrea has deliberately continued supporting the extremists in the horn of Africa nation mostly in 2009. However in a counter attack on Monday, Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry described the allegation as “concocted, baseless and unfounded”, adding: “It is indisputable that Eritrea had not and would never extend any support to Somali armed groups. “The government of Eritrea challenges those quarters indulging in utterly baseless allegations through fabricating and disseminating naked lies in the name of the U.N.”
Eritrea repeated its call for hard evidence to be presented publicly and demanded an independent platform allowing it to respond. The UN has frequently expressed concern about the flow of arms in to Somalia, where hardliners Islamists of Al-Shabbab and Hizbul-Islam are battling with government forces for control of the capital Mogadishu. Somalia has been subject to a UN arms embargo for many years, but weapons are still freely available in the Mogadishu weapons market. Somalia has been without a functional government since 1991 after Mogadishu warlords toppled Siad Bare’s regime that has left the country in catastrophe.
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