Date: Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Distinguished Members of the UN Security Council;
It gives me great honor to address this Council on behalf of the Eritrean people whose struggle to create a peaceful and cooperative neighborhood is a matter of historical record. Three generation of Eritreans had paid the ultimate sacrifices to establish a regional order based on international law, economic complementarity while mindful of the shared culture and history of the people.
In recent weeks, the Horn of Africa has witnessed developments of historic proportion. Eritrea and Ethiopia have taken a bold step to end the state of war and open a new chapter of peace and friendship. This state of war that prevailed for the past two decades has had devastating consequences beyond the two countries and peoples. It obstructed meaningful cooperation and undermined regional mechanism of conflict prevention and resolution. The agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia puts an end to this distorted regional order of enmity and competitions; and, opens a new horizon for sustainable peace and economic integration. It will strengthen the sub-regional conflict prevention and resolution mechanism.
Moreover, today Eritrea and Somalia signed a Joint Declaration during the historic visit of H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to Eritrea. They have agreed to exchange ambassadors, forge political, economic, social, cultural, defense and security cooperation as well as join hands to address the hurdles of regional peace and security.
The positive externalities of these developments to the entire region cannot be overstated.
It long been evident that the sanction against the people of Eritrea cannot be justified in the name of maintaining international peace and security. The sanction is kept even though the pretexts for its imposition have proven false for years. In so doing, the Council did not contribute to peace and amity; to the contrary, it undermined and derailed regional cooperation for a decade.
Within the emerging regional context, we find it inexplicable that the Council is discussing the sanction on Eritrea today. The most appropriate action should have been lifting the sanctions; thereby, indicating in unequivocal terms its support to the aforementioned positive developments. Eritrea welcomes a call by several countries, including Ethiopia and Somalia, for the lifting of the sanction.
Eritrea finds it unacceptable that few members of the Council continue to set preconditions and change the goalpost. They intend to keep the political pressure on the people of Eritrea for reasons not related to the maintenance of international peace. As in the past, it is clear that whatever Eritrea does in fulfilling its commitment towards the Council’s resolutions and despite the changes that the region witnesses, these members are unwilling to lift the unjustified punitive measures.
The Security Council should not miss another opportunity to contribute positively to regional peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. What is at stake is the credibility of the Council in the eyes of the citizens of the region. By lifting the sanction immediately and unconditionally, the Council can send a positive message that it supports the desire of the citizens of the region to live in peace and economically thrive together. And that the Council is ready to accompany them on their arduous journey to remove the hurdles of regional integration.
The other option for the Council is to maintain business as usual of placing preconditions, changing goalposts and keeping this politically motivated sanction without justification. The message to the citizens of the region will be that the Council is unwilling to walk in tandem with the regional developments and will continue to encourage spoilers seeking to undermine the unfolding peace and integration.
On its part, Eritrea remains committed to double its efforts and join hands with countries of the region to ensure peace and accelerate the socio-economic progress of the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region.