The Council is expected to adopt a resolution by the end of this week renewing the mandate of the Somalia Monitoring Group for a further 12 months.
The foreign minister of Eritrea was in New York over the past week making representations seeking the lifting of sanctions on Eritrea. He met with the Secretary-General and on Friday 22 July he met the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee.
Ethiopia also requested a meeting with the Sanctions Committee and this meeting is currently scheduled for today.
Eritrea’s case seems to have been raised at a bad time. It is understood that the latest report of the Somalia Monitoring Group includes information seriously critical of Eritrea and perhaps related to assistance going to the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia and to other security problems in the region. It is thought that the Sanctions Committee will be taking up the recommendations of the Monitoring Group in early August.
The Monitoring Group report is expected to be released publicly after it has been translated. (It is apparently close to 500 pages in length, so translation is taking some time).
Council members are now better informed about the best approach to take on the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions regime, particularly in light of the meetings with Eritrea and Ethiopia. Heavy sanctions are already in place against Eritrea. There is recognition of the need to avoid additional sanctions that might adversely impact ordinary Eritreans. This is particularly sensitive given the drought conditions in the Horn of Africa.
[Editor’s Note: Ethiopia was asking the UN to exclude “remittances” from its wish list of sanctions on Eritrea arguing that most Eritrean families depend on it for survival. Hmm??? Does this mean that the Security Council is about to grant Ethiopia what it wants and impose sanctions on Eritrea’s economic and mining sectors? ]
Council members also seem aware that given the sensitive relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia, they do not want to take actions that add further complications to the relationship. But the Monitoring Group report has had a major impact and the willingness to consider further measures against Eritrea seems quite high.
Many Council members seem to be looking to the African members of the Council for leadership.