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Six Months After Eritrea Sanctions Fight, Penholder UK Talks of Roadmap for Removal

 Penholder UK says its working on a roadmap for sanctions removal on Eritrea. 



By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 17– When the UN Security Council renewed its sanctions against Eritrea last November, there were five abstentions. While the next vote won't be until November 2017, on May 17 the Council - with five new members since the last time - met again on Eritrea. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, penholder on Somalia, said "six months ago, the Security Council was quite divided on whether there should be sanctions or not on Eritrea. Before the next decision on the sanctions regime on Eritrea, coming up in November, we are going to do a review today of whether there should be a sanctions regime. We, as penholder on that issue, are seeking to find a way to unite the Security Council so that there can be some specific measures in a roadmap that the authorities of Eritrea would need to meet in order to lift the sanctions regime. Our national position is that the conditions are not yet right to lift the sanctions. But that if Eritrea did some of the things which we will set out today then we would look at it on the basis of the evidence."

When the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the State of Eritrea Sheila Keetharuth held a press conference at the UN on October 28, Inner City Press went to ask her if she considered the impact of sanctions on Eritrea. Video here. She answered only in terms of arms embargo, they said she simply chose not to look at the issue.

On November 10, when Somalia Eritrea sanctions were voted on, five countries abstained: Angola, China, Egypt, Russia and Venezuela. Eritrea's charge d'affaires made a statement, which we've published on Scribd, here.

Before the vote, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft a question; he spoke about the Somalia Eritrea sanctions helping to limit support to Al Shabaab. Video here. But the current lack of evidence of Eritrean support to Al Shabaab has been repeatedly cited. And there are new reports calling the SEMG and its former officials into question, here. We'll have more on this.

By contrast to Keetharuth, the Rapporteur on the Democratic People Republic of Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana answered detailed questions from Inner City Press about sanctions including unilateral sanctions on coal sales, for example. Is there no consistency between UN Special Rapporteurs? Video here.

There were only three journalists asking questions at the October 28 press conference - and yet Inner City Press was in 2016 ousted and evicted, and it is still under Antonio Guterres restricted to a minder. Petition here.
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