From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Dec 15 2008 - 06:54:23 EST
US says Eritrea not designated as state sponsor of terrorism
Monday 15 December 2008 05:54.
December 14, 2008 (WASHINGTON) - After the Eritrean Foreign Ministry
speculated last week that certain US officials are attempting to label
Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism, the US State Department affirmed that
the country is still not considered as such. Presently the United States
considers Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.
This label restricts US foreign assistance, bans US arms exports and sales,
controls certain exports and imposes miscellaneous financial restrictions.
The Eritrean Foreign Ministry stated last week that allegations against it
are "preposterous in the extreme."
In response to an inquiry as to whether discussions are ongoing to designate
Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism, a State Department spokesman told
Sudan Tribune, "Eritrea is designated as not fully cooperating."
He did not specify where cooperation was lacking and would only add, "the
Department of State does not discuss possible countries under review."
At issue is Eritrea's position on Somalia, it appears from the Eritrean
statement. Eritrea and the United States have backed opposite sides in the
war in Somalia, which erupted at the end of 2006.
In August last year, Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for
African affairs, said that US officials were compiling evidence of Eritrean
backing to Somali extremists, saying, "Frankly, the information so far that
we've collected is fairly convincing about their activities, in terms of
State Sponsor, in Eritrea and in Somalia."
However, another U.S. spokesperson made clear on Friday that the U.S. does
not consider as viable the proposed interim multinational force in Somalia.
Eritrean support for the Asmara-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of
Somalia has soured relations with U.S. officials.
This group seeks to topple the Transitional Federal Government, which moved
into power in Somalia in the wake of a U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in
late2006. Since then various insurgents have taken back control of most of
These groups include different Shabab militias, one of which the U.S.
declared to be a terrorist organization. Senior UN officials have called the
situation in Somalia the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe.
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