The Eritrean Foreign Ministry, on its 4th January 2012 letter to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea, has expressed its concern on three issues mentioned on the new November report by the Monitoring Group. It also protest strongly on what it termed as ‘strident conduct’ and approach used by the group in discharging its duties.
This time around, Eritrea says no more business as usual.
The full content of the letter follows below with the original as an attachment.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ref: OM 002/2012
4 January 2012
H.E. Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri
Chairman of the Security Council Committee Concerning Somalia and Eritrea
United Nations, New York, NY, 10017
Recently, my delegation has been made aware of the contents of the November 2011 Report of the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group which was circulated to members of the Security Council Committee on 9 December 2011. I am obliged to write this letter to Your Excellency to address the issues raised in that report, and to protest against, the strident demeanor that the Eritrea Somalia Monitoring Group has chosen to assume in discharging its duties.
There are three items that merit serious examination in the section that concerns Eritrea.
1. In the opening paragraph (Page 4), the Monitoring Group openly admits that “it is in the process of deepening its knowledge of Eritrean military intelligence services with a view to better understanding training and procurement activities that may represent violations of the arms embargo“. Eritrea maintains that this conduct, which does not only impinge on its sovereignty but is also fraught with dangerous consequences to its national security, cannot be within the purview of the Monitoring Group. Eritrea barely needs to mention that the “findings and reports” of the Monitoring Group are, almost invariably, first provided to Eritrea’s avowed enemies and cannot, in any case, be kept “confidential or off-limits” to these forces.
On a more general level, the statutory authority, structure, accountability and modus operandi of intelligence services are not matters that are indiscreetly available in the public domain in any sovereign country for reasons that are too obvious to merit clarification. In the event, the Monitoring Group cannot request Eritrea to provide it with, or collect through its own devices, such sensitive and classified information even with the flimsy caveats that it has invoked to burnish its wayward conduct.
Furthermore, this strident conduct amplifies, once again, the lack of professionalism, impartiality and judicious judgment that has characteized the work of the Monitoring Group in its crusade against Eritrea.
2. The Monitoring Group accepts at face value the accusations made by the Government of Kenya and states that it is “seeking to independently verify” the information that “three aircraft, allegedly carrying weapons from Eritrea, had landed in the Al-Shabaab controlled town of Baidoa during the first week of November“.
The qualification notwithstanding, the bias of the Monitoring Group in this instance is again evident. The Monitoring Group cannot be oblivious to the fact that Eritrea has lodged a strong protest against the unfounded accusation by Kenya and expressly asked the UN Security Council to investigate the whole affair. It may also be relevant to note that the Government of Kenya has throughout maintained that its information comes from “secondary sources“. The Monitoring Group omits this information as it is singularly obsessed with tarnishing the image of Eritrea and as it knows that first impressions tend to stick even if corrections are made later.
In any case, it is not within the tradition of the Monitoring Group to acknowledge errors or the fallacy of wrong accusations in its subsequent reports.
3. The Monitoring Group also talks about new evidence that “Eritrea continues to host, train, and equip members of armed opposition groups from other countries in the region, notably Ethiopia“.
This assertion is presumably corroborated by “captured ONLF and OLF fighters … in late October/ early November“. The Monitoring Group states that it “has confirmed that these fighters were trained in and deployed from Eritrea by air and sea in violation of resolutions 1844 (2008) and 1907 (2009)”. The Monitoring Group does not however indicate in its report when these presumed trainings took place and when and where these fighters were deployed. Furthermore, the Monitoring Group fails to mention, let alone investigate and fully report, terrorist attacks that two Ethiopian-based subversive groups (the “Eritrean Salvation Front ESF” and, the “Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO)” perpetrated in Eritrea at the end of November/early December. In the same vein, it keeps silent and ignores the “conference” of subversive groups that Ethiopia convened in Awasa in the same month in pursuit of its campaign of destabilization and “regime change” in Eritrea. In an address to the “conference” on November 22nd, Mr. Redwan Hussein, a member of the Political Bureau of the ruling Ethiopian party, the EPRDF, and an advisor to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, chastises the “opposition parties for not achieving much in the past years“, welcomes “the timely convening of the conference to formulate new strategies of struggle to topple the Eritrean government” and reassures them that “Ethiopia will provide them with all the support they need to achieve the goals of their struggle“. All these activities and events which were widely publicized by Ethiopia and are in the public domain constitute violations not only of the United Nations Charter but also Security Council resolutions 1907 and 2023.
In view of these additional facts, the Government of Eritrea once again calls on the UN Security Council Committee to define in a more exhaustive and precise manner the ground rules that govern the functions of the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Original Letter can be found HERE