Date: Thursday, 06 September 2018
In a joint news conference with Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh on 31 August, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for the UN Security Council to begin lifting sanctions against Eritrea, and for improved relations between Eritrea and Djibouti.
The United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, will discuss the sanctions against Eritrea in November. IHS Markit assesses that the sanctions are likely to be lifted. On 30 July, the chair of the UN Sanctions Committee on Somalia and Eritrea delivered an interim report welcoming Eritrea’s restoration of relations with Ethiopia and Somalia. The Committee, however, still has not been permitted to enter Eritrea to assess the situation on the ground, and more particularly the Doumeira border region over which Djibouti and Eritrea have a long-standing sovereignty dispute. Djibouti’s UN representative, Mohamed Siad Doualeh, in July described Eritrea’s refusal to permit the UN Sanctions Committee to inspect Doumeira as an “intolerable pattern of behaviour characterised by obstruction and obfuscation”. This forms one of Djibouti’s key conditions for supporting the lifting of sanctions; the others being the release of alleged Djiboutian war prisoners by Eritrea, held since a three-day border conflict in 2008, and acceptance of a mutually acceptable dispute settlement procedure, in conformity with the UN Charter. Consequently, unlike his Ethiopian and Somalian counterparts, Djiboutian President Ismael Omar Guelleh has declined to visit the Eritrean capital, Asmara, until the border issue is resolved.
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