The following is Eritrea’s official written response to the queries raised on the 25 August 2015 letter by the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG).
Although Eritrea had fully responded to many of the questions presented by the members of the SEMG in the past and most recently during the interactive video conference on 21 August 2015, preside by the Deputy Political Coordinator Mr. Alferdo Fernando Toro-Carnevali, Eritrea wishes to submit the following written responses, dated 4 September 2015, and its five annexes with full expectation that they will be fully reflected and included in the final report of the SEMG.
1. Eritrea commends the Chair of the Security Council Committee, H.E. Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, for his effort to enhance a constructive dialogue and transparency in the work of the Committee as well as for facilitating the interaction with the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group. Eritrea also appreciates the role of the United Nations Secretariat.
2. Eritrea has on several occasions clearly and comprehensively responded, in writing and orally, to all questions and allegations of the SEMG. Unfortunately, Eritrea finds it inexplicable for SEMG to continuously ask the same question that have been unambiguously addressed.
3. It must be underlined that in the spirit of engagement and cooperation, in the past the SEMG had visited Eritrea two times; met twice with the Political Advisor to the President, Mr. Yemane Gebreab, in Paris and Cairo; and in 2015 held three video conferences with the Permanent Representative of Eritrea, Ambassador Girma Asmerom. Several formal and informal meetings have also taken place between the SEMG and the Eritrean Mission in New York.
4. With the hope that the SEMG will not ask the same question in the future, the Eritrean Government will once again respond to the questions raised by the SEMG in its letter of 25 August 2015 (Reference: S/AC.29/2015/SEMG/OC.86). However, while answering to the questions, we ask the SEMG to:
a) concentrate on its mandate of monitoring whether Eritrea is supporting Al-Shabaab in Somalia;
b) refrain from dealing with matters that do not fall within the purview of its mandate, such as the situation in Yemen and in particular the Ethiopia – Eritrea conflict, which are agenda items for the UNSC to handle. The UNSC has the full responsibility to urge Ethiopia to withdraw from sovereign Eritrean territory, including the town of Badme;
c) employ high standards of investigation methodology as stipulated in the Report of the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on General Issues of Sanctions (S/2006/997) which, inter alia, underscores the need for expert panels to rely on verified information and documents, and ensure that their “assertions are corroborated by solid information and that their findings are substantiated by credible sources”;
d) respect for Eritrea’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence
e) fully include and reflect in the main part of the SEMG reports Eritrea’s oral and written responses; and
f) in a spirit of transparency, share in advance its draft and final reports with the Eritrean government, as a concerned part.