Eritrea wants UN action on Kenya

2011-11-21 19:47
Addis Ababa - Eritrea has complained to the UN Security Council about Kenyan allegations that it sent weapons to Islamist rebels in Somalia, calling for an independent investigation to judge the dispute.

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said in a letter to the Council that Eritrea was confident an investigation would find Nairobi's "defamatory" accusations to be baseless, and urged the United Nations to take action against Kenya in the dispute.

Nairobi has accused Eritrea of flying in weapons for al-Shabaab, an insurgent group liked to al-Qaeda which has been fighting the Western-backed Somali government since 2007, and which is now also battling Kenyan forces.

"If, as Eritrea confidently believes, the investigation determines that there is no basis whatsoever to the very serious and harmful accusations by the government of Kenya, Eritrea calls on the Security Council to take action that would redress the injustice suffered by the people and government of Eritrea," Saleh wrote in the letter, seen by Reuters.

"Defamation of a member state of the United Nations should not be indulged in with impunity and must not be tolerated, given its negative implications for regional peace and security," he said in the letter, dated November 16.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia, its anarchic neighbour, last month to rout the insurgents which it blames for kidnappings of Western aid workers and tourists on Kenyan soil, and frequent cross-border incursions.

Nairobi says it has credible information that consignments of arms were flown to the Somali town of Baidoa from Eritrea. Kenyan officials have said that Eritrean denials are not enough, and that it should go further and denounce al-Shabaab.

Saleh's letter to Jose Filipe Cabral, the Security Council's rotating president for November, gave no details on who might conduct the investigation, nor did it say what action Eritrea wanted.

"Frenzied campaign"

However, Eritrea's envoy to the African Union said the Kenyan allegations should be publicly dismissed as a first step.

"It is up to the UN Security Council to take whatever action it feels appropriate and necessary to rectify such baseless allegations and defamation of a member state," envoy Girma Asmerom told Reuters.

"However, as a starter, I strongly feel that the UN Security Council should urge the government of Kenya to publicly rescind its baseless accusation against Eritrea," he said.

Kenyan officials have said the weapons consisted of shoulder-fired rockets, grenades and small arms munitions, and that they have been moved to areas in southern and central Somalia.

Slapped with an arms embargo, assets freeze and a travel ban for some of its officials in 2009, Eritrea faces another round of measures over charges it was aiding militants fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Mogadishu government.

Asmara accuses Ethiopia of being behind the claims through a "frenzied campaign" to isolate and weaken its government. The neighbours fought a two-year war over disputed territory a decade ago but the frontier spat has yet to be resolved.

Scores of Ethiopian military vehicles carrying soldiers have been spotted by residents in Somalia's frontier towns in what could be a joint attempt to flush out al-Shabaab.

Ethiopian officials, however, say they have yet to decide on deploying troops, though they are committed to a regional initiative to stabilise the lawless Horn of Africa country.

Read more on:    un  |  al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  eritrea  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.