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UN to lift sanctions on Eritrea after US shift

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Addis Ababa, November 3, 2018 (FBC) – The United Nations Security Council is preparing to lift sanctions on Eritrea after the United States dropped its insistence on prolonging the measures despite a peace deal with Ethiopia, AFP quoted diplomats as saying yesterday.

Britain circulated a draft resolution to the council on Thursday that calls for lifting the arms embargo and all travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions on Eritrea, according to the text seen by AFP.

The council is to vote on the proposed resolution on November 14. Diplomats said they expected the measure to be adopted after the US change in position.

Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal in July, but the United States, backed by France and Britain, insisted the sanction to be extended.

That position however recently changed — a shift some diplomats said was decided by US national security adviser John Bolton, who dealt with the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict when he served as UN ambassador.

The council slapped sanctions on Eritrea in 2009. The sanctions and arms embargo will end on the day of the adoption of the resolution, according to the text.

The peace declaration signed in July by the prime minister of Ethiopia and president of Eritrea ended two decades of hostility and triggered a thaw in relations with Djibouti and Somalia that shored up stability in the Horn of Africa.

In his UN address, Eritrea’s foreign minister said it was “astounding” that some countries at the Security Council wanted to prolong sanctions “in light of the widely acclaimed peace.”

The sanctions caused “considerable economic damage” to Eritrea and “unnecessary hardships,” said the foreign minister, who called for their immediate end.

Ethiopia and Somalia had backed Eritrea’s call to end sanctions.

The draft resolution calls on Eritrea and Djibouti to continue to improve relations after the leaders met in Saudi Arabia in September to resolve a border dispute.

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