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African Union calls on UN to sanction Eritrea over support of Somali Islamists


May 23, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to sanction Eritrea for supporting Somali Islamist insurgents.

In a statement released after the end of its 190th meeting in the Ethiopian capital on Friday the AUPSC urged the UNSC to impose sanctions on "all those foreign actors, both within and outside the region, especially Eritrea, which are providing support to the armed groups engaged in destabilizing activities in Somalia."

The Council appealed to establish a no fly zone and blockade of sea ports, to prevent the entry of foreign elements into Somalia, as well as weapons and ammunitions to the Islamist insurgency.

The AU peace and security council appeal comes in line with the IGAD request to the UN against Eritrea.
In an extraordinary meeting dedicated to the security and political situation in Somalia on Thursday May 20 held in the Ethiopian capital the regional body appealed to impose sanction without delay on Eritrea saying Asmara called for the overthrow of the Somali government and attacks on African peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Eritrea recalled its ambassador to the African Union following the statement. Asmara however denied reports that it had suspended its membership at the African Union.

Somali government accused Eritrea of supporting Al Shebab insurgents with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

The Security Council also in a statement on May 15 expressed its concern about reports that Eritrea has supplied arms to those opposing the government of Somalia.

The Eritrean ambassador at the UN rejected these accusations saying his country has been falsely accused of supplying arms to the Somali militants.

"I wish to put on record my government’s strong opposition to, and categorical rejection of, the unsubstantiated accusations leveled against my country," Eritrean Ambassador Araya Desta wrote in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, on Wednesday May 20.

However, an insurgent leader who returned to Mogadishu recently from Asmara where he was established, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, admitted in an interview with Reuters yesterday that Eritrea supported them in their fight to topple the Somali government.

"Eritrea supports us and Ethiopia is our enemy — we once helped both countries but Ethiopia did not reward us," Aweys, said.

Some 45 people were killed in Mogadishu as result of the heavy fighting between the government troops and the insurgents who control important parts of the capital.

Today the Islamists militant also renewed attacks on the position of the African peacekeepers in Mogadishu. There are 4300 peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda in the capital to protect key government sites.


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