UNITED NATIONS, Oct 18 – The Security Council will begin Tuesday discussing a draft resolution on imposing new sanctions on Eritrea for what a UN report describes as destabilizing actions in East Africa.
Neighbor and long-time rival Ethiopia has sought reinforced international sanctions since a UN panel in July said Eritrea was behind a plot to stage bomb attacks on an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January.
The additional sanctions being considered included targeted measures against investment in the country’s mining industry as well as further asset freezes and travel bans on the Eritrean leadership.
The United States threw its weight behind Ethiopia’s call for new sanctions in August after the UN group that monitors sanctions said Eritrea was behind the bombing plot.
The UN experts also said Eritrea was arming and supporting insurgent groups in Somalia, including the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab.
The Security Council imposed in December 2009 an arms embargo, travel restrictions and asset freeze on top Eritrean political and military leaders because of alleged support for the Islamist Shebab militants.
Eritrea has, however, accused its neighbor of staging a “frenzied campaign” for sanctions and says any measures enforced by the UN would hurt the Eritrean people most of all.
A six-nation East African regional group, the Inter-Government Authority on Development, has called for sanctions against mining interests and banning a government tax on remittances sent back by Eritreans living abroad.