Qatar’s Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani today witnessed the release of all four Djiboutian Prisoners of War (POWs) that Eritrea captured during the three-day border skirmish in June 2008.
HE the Minister announced the good news from the Djibouti capital where he is currently on an official visit.
Two years after the incident, the Presidents of Eritrea and Djibouti have signed a seven-point Comprehensive Agreement on 6 June 2010 entrusting the Emir of Qatar to undertake mediation efforts including the issue of POWs and missing persons.
Six years after signing the agreement, the mediation process hasn’t shown any progress as Djibouti puts the release of its POWs as the first precondition for the restart of talks to resolve the territorial dispute with Eritrea.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani voiced his pleasure for the release of the group of Djiboutian prisoners and thanked the Eritrean government for taking the bold step.
In a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA) HE the Minister expressed the hope that this would be a step in the process of settling the remaining differences between the brotherly countries of the Republic of Djibouti and the State of Eritrea.
The UN Security Council imposed two sanctions on Eritrea after justifying alleged Eritrean support to Al-Shabaab Islamist group in Somalia and the border dispute with Djibouti.
Seven years later, however, the Security Council Sanctions Committee cleared Eritrea of any wrong doing in Somalia and declared that it had found no real or perceived evidence that suggests Eritrea’s support to Al-Shabaab.
Today’s release of Djiboutian POWs will also be translated as most welcome development by the Security Council and it is Eritrea’s desire to see the UN reconsidering or even rescind the unfair and unjust sanctions as the two reasons used as a pretext to maintain the sanction are now no longer present.
UN Chief Welcomes Release of Djiboutian POWs
By UN News Center,
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has learned of the arrival in Djibouti today of the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and the announcement of the release of four Djiboutian prisoners by the Eritrean authorities.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General commended the efforts of the Qatari mediation in brokering this process and the Eritrea for releasing the prisoners.
Mr. Ban through the statement also expressed the hope that this will help address other regional outstanding issues between Djibouti and Eritrea and enhance regional peace and security in the Horn of Africa.