posted on THU 1 DEC 2011 4:58 PM
Eritrea Resolution and Possible Address by the Eritrean President

Following consultations among Council members yesterday (Wednesday, 30 November), first among experts and then at permanent representative level, it appears that Gabon circulated a revised draft resolution on Eritrea last night. Gabon had called for a vote yesterday after having put a draft resolution in blue on Tuesday evening. However, it met opposition from several Council members who had amendments to the text.

Additionally, it seems most members were of the view that before taking any action, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki should be allowed to address the Council. (Afwerki had made this request in late October but it was formally discussed by Council members only yesterday.) There seemed to be an initial agreement yesterday that the vote would take place on Monday based on the understanding that Afwerki would be invited to address the Council that same day before any action is taken. A letter was immediately sent inviting him to address the Council. However, today Eritrea responded that Monday was not convenient because of the short notice and asked the Council to propose another date. (It appears that other states from the region have also been invited.)

It seems that during yesterday’s consultations China, Russia and South Africa made a number of proposals. These include measures relating to the use of the diaspora tax, investments in the Eritrean mining industry and financial transactions. It appears, however, that only minor revisions were incorporated into last night’s draft. It is therefore unclear whether it will meet with the approval of all members.

The text that is now on the table is considerably shorter and weaker, in terms of sanctions provisions, than the original. Besides calling for implementation of existing sanctions, it condemns the use of the Eritrean government’s diaspora tax to destabilise the Horn of Africa or violate Council resolutions and calls on Eritrea to cease such practices. It also calls for appropriate action to be taken by member states to make individuals accountable for and prevent them from engaging in such actions.

The draft also expresses concern over the Eritrean mining sector potentially being used as a source for financing destabilising activities and calls on states to be vigilant in preventing such use. It also requests the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee to draft guidelines for member states to use on a voluntary basis. Additionally, it urges states to develop due diligence guidelines to prevent the provision of financial services that might contribute to further violations by Eritrea of existing Council resolutions.

The resolution is also likely to impact the mandate of the Monitoring Group by adding some new tasks. Possible follow-up action includes having the Secretary-General report within 180 days on Eritrea’s compliance with the resolution.