- While Eritrea is hailed for its new peace agreement with Djibouti, the Asmara regime still is not complying with the world's demand not to destabilise its neighbours. Sanctions therefore will not be lifted, the UN concludes.
"Despite the government of Eritrea's long-standing positions on Somalia and Djibouti, it has recently taken a number of steps towards constructive engagement with its neighbours and the wider international community," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report to the UN Security Council on Eritrea.
But the noted "constructive engagement" was not enough to see the UN sanctions imposed against Eritrea in January lifted, Mr Ban's report nevertheless concluded.
"While recent developments represent a move in the right direction, I urge the government of Eritrea to do more to provide evidence of its compliance with resolution 1907 and the practical measures set out in it," Mr Ban says.
The resolution imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea and a travel ban and an assets freeze on Eritrean political and military leaders who violated the embargo, provided support to armed opposition groups destabilising the region or obstructed implementation of a previous Council resolution that demanded that Eritrea withdrawal its troops from Djibouti.
The resolution followed a request by the regional East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) for the UN Security Council to take such action.
IGAD and the AU had observed Eritrea was providing Somali Islamist insurgents with arms despite an arms embargo. Also, the AU was reacting to a sudden Eritrean military attack on Djibouti over a smaller disputed border area.
The positive steps referred to by Mr Ban's report include Eritrea's reception of a UN Sanctions Committee in Asmara, its participation in the Istanbul Conference on Somalia, and its engagement in regional mediation efforts led by Qatar on Eritrea's border dispute with Djibouti.
"I am encouraged that Eritrea is now engaging in an effort to arrive at a peaceful resolution to the border conflict and normalise relations with Djibouti," Mr Ban writes.
However, he notes that the UN's ability to verify Eritrea's compliance with the resolution imposing sanctions was "very limited," and expressed hope that the new monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea, which would soon be established, could provide for independent monitoring and reporting.
Mr Ban also welcomed recent reports that had indicated that Eritrea was taking measures to restore its representation at the Addis Ababa headquarters of the AU and encouraged the country to make a similar effort in re-establishing its membership in IGAD.
"Eritrea's enhanced engagement with regional organisations and international partners would be an important contribution to strengthening peace and stability in the Horn of Africa," the UN leader added.
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