Eritrea seeks to end regional isolation

2011-08-03 12:42
Addis Ababa - Eritrea is seeking to end its regional isolation and has applied for re-admission to an East African peace bloc four years after it pulled out, a statement said on Wednesday.

The six-member Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said Asmara's request to rejoin the body was being considered, but noted that Eritrea was facing serious accusations by a UN monitoring group report.

"The final decision for re-admission is pending the ongoing internal consultations within the policy making organs of IGAD and will be communicated in due course," the IGAD secretariat said in a statement.

"It has to be noted that Eritrea suspended its membership from IGAD four years ago and is requesting re-admission at a time when there are discussions at the UN Security Council regarding serious accusations levelled against it."

The UN Monitoring Group on Eritrea and Somalia last week said Asmara was behind a plan to bomb an African Union summit in January in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Eritrea withdrew from IGAD over the 2006-2007 conflict in Somalia, where its arch-foe Ethiopia deployed troops to oust an Islamist movement.

The IGAD later urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea on accusations that it backed the Islamist rebels.

"The IGAD secretariat however appreciates the request of the state of Eritrea and will expedite the process on behalf of the organisation," the statement said.

IGAD comprises Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

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