> Eritrea: Ambassador Rice's Comments On UN
Resolution On Country
7 December 2011
Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the
United Nations, at the Security Council Stakeout, After the Adoption of UN
Security Council Resolution 2023, December 5, 2011
Ambassador Rice: The United States is pleased with the adoption today of
Resolution 2023, imposing additional sanctions on Eritrea for its failure to
comply with its obligations under previous Security Council resolutions,
including 1907, passed two years ago this month.
This resolution underscores the international community's condemnation of
Eritrea's destabilizing behavior in the Horn and its support for terrorism.
It strengthens the provisions of 1907 and imposes additional obligations on
Eritrea and limits its ability to continue to use the mining sector and the
diaspora tax to fund its illicit activities.
We think this is an important step that is a good affirmation of the unity
of the international community in response to the pleas that we heard from
the leadership of the IGAD states this morning, who were unanimous in
underscoring their concern about the threat posed by Eritrea and their call
upon the Council for stronger sanctions.
I want to congratulate Gabon and Nigeria for their leadership in sponsoring
and shepherding the resolution, and I'm happy to take a couple questions.
Reporter: Ambassador, you saw that the Foreign Minister of Eritrea
[inaudible] letter to the Council, asking them that the act should be
postponed until the President could come. I was just wondering, was there a
need to rush this through?
Ambassador Rice: We do not think this resolution was rushed. Discussions
began on the resolution back in October. There were negotiations throughout
the month of November. On Wednesday, the Council decided to schedule a vote
for today, Monday. We issued an invitation on Wednesday evening to the
Eritrean President to address the Council Monday morning. On Thursday, we
got a letter from Eritrea saying that they didn't intend to come. On Friday,
they applied for visas at our Embassy in Asmara. They applied for 13 visas
on Friday morning. Ten were issued within a few short hours. The final three
were issued before -- or by 10:00 the next day. All the visas were issued in
24 hours, and President Isaias's was issued just hours after it was applied
for, which, I think as many of you know, is close to record speed.
We had been expecting that the Eritrean delegation would arrive. Our Embassy
was awaiting details on their flight information so that we could process
that as we normally do. It never came. And then we got another letter
yesterday saying that for logistical reasons, unexplained, they weren't
They had ample time to be here, in person, or through other means, as the
other IGAD delegations did. And we have no explanation for their not being
here except that they, perhaps, didn't like what was going to happen today.
Reporter: Ambassador, they also seemed to say -- they said it sort of lacked
due process, to have the resolution already in blue and going to be voted
on. Sort of like, what was the point of talking if everything was already
set up with no chance to go and check with capitals or to reconsider the
And I wanted to ask you one other thing about what Russia said. Russia said
that there wasn't sufficient proof provided of this alleged plot to attack
the AU summit in Addis. Do you think there was sufficient proof in front of
the Council on that matter?
Ambassador Rice: Let me address both those matters. First of all, you'll
recall that Eritrea requested to address the Council last summer. It sent
its Foreign Minister and a senior presidential adviser. We spent a couple of
hours with Eritrea and other IGAD delegations, hearing their viewpoints.
This was soon after the Monitoring Group report was made available. They had
an opportunity to address those allegations. We had a discussion and a very
full exchange of views. So, there was not any absence of opportunity for the
members of the Council to hear Eritrea's point of view and that of other
regional states to inform our deliberations.
The Eritreans had the opportunity to be here again today and make their
case. They chose not to do so. The other IGAD states took that opportunity,
I think, to good effect. With respect to the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring
Group evidence regarding the plot -- the thankfully foiled plot -- and
planned attack on the African Union Summit in January, the evidence provided
by the Monitoring Group we know to be very compelling and we have every
confidence in its full veracity.
The Ethiopian Government enabled every embassy in Addis Ababa that wished to
come and view the evidence themselves. Some took the opportunity to do so;
others didn't. I don't understand the basis for Russia's claim that the
evidence was not available or not compelling. From the United States' point
of view, we have every confidence in the veracity of that evidence.
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Received on Thu Dec 08 2011 - 12:27:11 EST