[dehai-news] (ST) Eritrea: US officials attempt to prevent good relations with Obama team

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From: Tsegai Emmanuel (emmanuelt40@gmail.com)
Date: Fri Dec 12 2008 - 08:57:49 EST

  <http://www.sudantribune.com/> Fri, Dec 12, 2008 14:01 UT Eritrea: US
officials attempt to prevent good relations with Obama team Friday 12
December 2008.

December 11, 2008 (ASMARA) Asmara denounced today efforts exerted by some
US official in the outgoing administration to declare Eritrea as state
sponsor of terrorism. It further accused them of trying to tie the hands of
the incoming administration.

Last August, Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African
affairs said the US official were compiling evidence of Eritrean backing to
the Somali extremists. The case intends to designate the Red Sea state of
Eritrea a "state sponsor of terrorism" for its alleged support of
al-Qaeda-linked Somali insurgents Al-Shabab.

The Eritrean foreign ministry accused some US officials of "making a
last-ditch attempt to tie beforehand the hands of the incoming
administration in the strategic Horn of Africa region."

The ministry said Thursday in a statement released Thursday that the
Americans official had failed to achieve their objective in the past months
because many in the US administration were unconvinced by the accusation.

Eritrea further said that the motives of the US officials go beyond the
blame game. It further said their " intention, at this late hour, and the
outcome can only be to obstruct any move to bring US-Eritrea relations back
on track."

The "state sponsor of terrorism" designation is rarely used and represents a
near death sentence for diplomatic relations with the United States. Those
on the list are banned from receiving all non-emergency U.S. aid and subject
to a host of financial sanctions. It also penalizes people, firms and third
countries that engage in trade with designees.

The U.S. officials believe the Somali militants have close ties to al-Qaeda
and are harbouring several suspects wanted for the 1998 bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A U.N. report released last July says the Islamist insurgents in Somalia
have enough surface-to-air missiles, suicide vests and explosives to sustain
their war against the internationally backed Somali government, largely due
to secret shipments from Eritrea.

The report further says Eritrea has shipped a "huge quantity of arms" to the
insurgents, known as the Shabab. The shipments continued despite U.N.
efforts to bring peace to Somalia and the deployment of African Union

But the statement said that Eritrea has a clear position based on its
opposition to foreign intervention and to allow Somali to find solutions to
their problem.

It also reaffirmed Asmara opposition to the "US-Ethiopian military adventure
in December 2006." The Eritrean government also blasted the distinction made
between the Somali opposition Islamist "to moderates and extremists adding
it had encouraged the Somali to establish an inclusive and broad alliance to
reconstitute their country.

"Our perspective has been proven right on all accounts."

In a massage dated of 5 November the Eritrean president conveyed "ardent
hope that US policy in our region will indeed change under your Excellency's
presidency to pursue a constructive path to advance the causes of regional
peace, justice and legality."

Eritrea accuses the outgoing administration of backing its arch-foe Ethiopia
in a long-running border dispute. Bush Administration complains that Eritrea
playing a destabilizing role in the Horn of Africa through its continued
animosity with regional foe Ethiopia.


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