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Eritrea

Ethiopian new Premier in Asmara, could this brings a “Lasting Peace and Justice for Eritrea & Ethiopia”?

Ethiopian Premier in Asmara after long Eritrea-Ethiopian War since 1961-2018, could this brings a “Lasting Peace and Justice for Eritrea & Ethiopia”?

New Ethiopian Premier Abiy arrived in Asmara on an Ethiopian Airlines plane to neighbouring Eritrea after 20 years of conflict that took the lives of over 100,000.

There was not a strategical rivalry between the two movements that took power in 1991 in Asmara and Addis Ababa, EPLF/Eritrean and TPLF/Tigrean consecutively, rather a tactical difference. Since the latter is organized and armed by the former. And fought hand in hand against Ethiopia for 17 years.

Both people need hope to have a lasting social peace by giving a lasting social Justice.

A meeting between Isaias and Abiy, whose nations have been at odds since a 1998-2000 border war, will cap landmark talks that began last month between officials from both countries. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of proxy and protracted conflict. A “rapprochement” between leaders began after Abiy became premier in April and the ruling party’s politburo pledged to implement a long-delayed peace deal.

Now is a time to let the dead finally to rest in peace, by compensating the victims and bring the responsible to justice, thus giving a true peace a chance. Ethiopia and Eritrea need their own Nuremberg to close this sad chapter of their mutual history once for all. A peace without justice is fragile and not yet lucid to grasp. It is a house built in a sinking sand. Problems must be solved from their roots. At last, late is better than never. We hope this will be a beginning of a new chapter. ( Prof. M.T)

TPLF regime ceded to Eritrea Ethiopian historical land preserved with blood and bones for centuries

TPLF regime ceded to Eritrea Ethiopian historical land preserved with blood and bones for centuries.

The Horn of Africa neighbours have remained at odds since a 1998-2000 war [File: AP]

Eritrean dictator  chose not to replay on Ethiopia’s TPLF regime announcement without national consultation.

The new decision definitively land locked Ethiopia for good, with no hope of  having direct access to the Red Sea.

Hundreds  of thousands of people were killed in the half a century old conflict and Eritrea remains on a war footing, demanding that Ethiopia withdraws from the  so called “occupied territory”.

Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 after Eritrea, which comprised the country’s entire Red Sea coast, voted to leave without  giving any chanace of consulting Ethiopian population.

The territory  Badme’s 15,000 people are veterans of a 1998-2000 conflict that   conscripts forced to march through minefields toward Eritrean trenches.

Ethiopia accuses Eritrea of destabilizing security, but Eritrea Rejects !

Ethiopia has accused neighboring Eritrea of attempting to compromise its security by supporting “destructive” groups.

According to reports Ethiopia’s state television, Eritrea is supporting groups smuggling weapons across the border. Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency as the country works to replace prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn who announced his resignation last month.

Eritrea’s government rejected allegations by neighboring Ethiopia that it’s trying to destabilize the country after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned last month.

“This false allegation doesn’t merit a serious response,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said Monday in an emailed response to questions. “The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats.”

Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats

Relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea are constantly strained, largely due to a difficult history between the two countries which has included two wars over independence and border disputes. It’s not unusual for Ethiopia to accuse Eritrea of compromising its security interests but this is the first case since the country’s latest state of emergency.

“This false allegation doesn’t merit a serious response,”  Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said Monday in an emailed response to questions. “The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats.”

The state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. on March 17 quoted the country’s police chief as saying Eritrea has “tried to destabilize the peace and security of our country by organizing and sending anti-peace forces to Ethiopia.” The interference has taken place since before and after a state of emergency was declared in the Horn of Africa nation, it said.

Tensions along the border have raised concerns over security in the Horn of Africa. The EU said it was “deeply concerned” about the ongoing dispute over territory between the two nations.

“The EU remains deeply concerned that the present stalemate continues to put regional stability at risk, with potentially negative implications on international peace and security as well as international trade, and hampers regional cooperation and development,” EU chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement in April 2017.

Ethiopia must deal with its home generated security crisis

Ethiopia’s Security Crisis Self-inflicted  Herman Cohen

However, Ethiopia’s biggest problems right now are internal as the country holds its second state of emergency within a year and discontent among opposition groups increases. According to Ethiopian opposition politician Bekele Gerba, irreversible changes are taking place in the country.

“There is a huge change in this country, especially the region we live in, the Oromia state,” he said earlier this month. “We feel that some kind of air of freedom is here, but this is regarded by the federal government as a threat.”

Eritrean Insurgency a proxy Force to Balkanize Ethiopia!

Eritrean capital shocked by protest calling the end of the authoritarian regime!

Eritrea protest aftermath: military makes arrests, internet cut reported

Eritrean authorities shot and killed over 30 young protesters, wounded and jailed hundreds at the student manifestation against for transferring all schools to become community schools administered and financed by the public. Some of the protestors were chased, all the way to Akria the neighborhood of the school where many of the students were from.

Eritrea is known the North Korea of Africa.Eritrea is at war with all its neighbors. With Ethiopia from where the country breaks away in 1991, still in limbo no war no peace situation after 30 years of conflict. The great majority of Eritreans are living in exile.

The violence centered on the predominantly-Muslim neighborhood of Akriya, where the Diaa Islamic School of Asmara of students is located.

The protests provoked by the arrest of the school chairman, 90-year-old Hajj Musa Mohammed Nur who spoke against the educational transformation in a rally.

The mosque where the protest initially boiled over made it clear that our issues are issues of freedom and liberty and not confined to religion or one religious group.

Eritrean dictators in the 11 hours of the authoritarian rule sanctioned by the UN  and an explosive situation with Ethiopia.

Prof. Muse

Zenawi’s nightmare scenario :”Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen in the Red Sea coasts of Africa”

Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen

Back in 2002, Meles Zenawi, then prime minister of Ethiopia, drafted a foreign policy and national security white paper for his country. Before finalizing it, he confided to me a “nightmare scenario” — not included in the published version — that could upend the balance of power in the Horn of Africa region.

The scenario went like this: Sudan is partitioned into a volatile south and an embittered north. The south becomes a sinkhole of instability, while the north is drawn into the Arab orbit. Meanwhile, Egypt awakens from its decades-long torpor on African issues and resumes its historical stance of attempting to undermine Ethiopia, with which it has a long-standing dispute over control of the Nile River. It does so by trying to bring Eritrea and Somalia into its sphere of influence, thereby isolating the government in Addis Ababa from its direct neighbors. Finally, Saudi Arabia begins directing its vast financial resources to support Ethiopia’s rivals and sponsor Wahhabi groups that challenge the traditionally dominant Sufis in the region, generating conflict and breeding militancy within the Muslim communities.

Fourteen years later, reality has exceeded Zenawi’s nightmare scenario; not only has every one of his fears come to pass, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman bin Saud are working hand-in-glove on regional security issues — notably in Yemen and Libya — which has raised the stakes of the long-running Egypt-Ethiopia rivalry. If the worsening tensions in the Horn of Africa erupt into military conflict, as seems increasingly possible, it wouldn’t just be a disaster for the region — it could also be a catastrophe for the global economy. Almost all of the maritime trade between Europe and Asia, about $700 billion each year, passes through the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits on the southern entrance to the Red Sea, en route to the Suez Canal. An endless procession of cargo ships and oil tankers passes within sight — and artillery range — of both the Yemeni and African shores of the straits.

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Zenawi’s nightmare scenario, in other words, may soon become the world’s — and no one has a white paper to prepare for it

Zenawi’s nightmare scenario, in other words, may soon become the world’s — and no one has a white paper to prepare for it.A crisis in the Horn of Africa has been a long time in the making. The regional rivalries of today date back to 1869, when the Suez Canal was opened to shipping, instantly making the Red Sea one of the British Empire’s most important strategic arteries, since almost all of its trade with India passed that way. Then as now, the security of Egypt depended on control of the Nile headwaters, 80 percent of which originate in Ethiopia. Fearful that Ethiopia would dam the river and stop the flow, Egypt and its colonial masters attempted to keep Ethiopia weak and encircled. They did this in part by divvying up rights to the Nile’s waters without consulting Addis Ababa. For example, the British-drafted Nile Waters Agreements, signed in 1929 and 1959, excluded Ethiopia from any share of the waters. As a result, Egypt and Ethiopia became regional rivals, intensely suspicious of each other.

The Nile remains a high-profile source of tension between the two countries to this day; Sisi’s state visit last year to Ethiopia failed to achieve much, in large part because of Egypt’s unease over a huge Ethiopian hydroelectric project on the Blue Nile. But another important source of friction between the two countries has centered for some time on two of Ethiopia’s volatile neighbors — Eritrea and Somalia — which Cairo has long viewed as useful partners to secure its interests along the Red Sea littoral. Ethiopia has shown it will resist what it views as Egyptian encroachment near its borders. From 2001 to 2004, for instance, Ethiopia and Egypt backed rival factions in Somalia, which prolonged that country’s destructive civil war.

These fractures in the Horn of Africa have been deepened by Saudi Arabia’s reassessment of its security strategy. Worried that the United States was withdrawing from its role as security guarantor for the wider region, it resolved to build up its armed forces and project its power into strategic hinterlands and sea lanes to the north and south. In practice, that has meant winning over less powerful countries along the African coast of the Red Sea — Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia — a region that Ethiopia has sought to place within its sphere of influence.

The Saudi presence along the African Red Sea coast has grown more sharply pronounced since its March 2015 military intervention in Yemen, which drew in Egypt as part of a coalition of Sunni Arab states battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The coalition obtained combat units from Sudan and Eritrea, and scrambled to secure the entire African shore of the Red Sea. Then in January of this year — under pressure from Saudi Arabia — Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan all cut diplomatic ties with Iran. By far the most significant of these was Sudan, which has had long-standing political and military ties with Tehran. For years, Iranian warships called at Port Sudan, and Iranian clandestine supplies to the Palestinian militant group Hamas passed freely along Sudan’s Red Sea coast (occasionally intercepted by Israeli jet fighters). Now Sudan is part of the Saudi-led coalition pummeling the Iran-backed Houthis.

But the most important geopolitical outcome of the Saudi-led Yemen intervention has been the rehabilitation of Eritrea, which capitalized on the war to escape severe political and economic isolation. After it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea fought wars with each of its three land neighbors — Djibouti, Sudan, and Ethiopia. It also fought a brief war with Yemen over the disputed Hanish Islands in the Red Sea in 1995, after which it declined to reestablish diplomatic relations with Sana’a and instead backed the Houthi rebels against the government.

After the Ethio-Eritrean border war of 1998-2000, Eritrea became a garrison state — with an army of 320,000, it has one the highest soldier-to-population ratios in the world — and Ethiopia led an international campaign to isolate it at the African Union, United Nations, and other international bodies. This was made easier by Eritrea’s increasingly rogue behavior, including backing al-Shabab militants in Somalia. The imposition of U.N. sanctions in 2009 brought the country to the brink of financial collapse.

But the war in Yemen gave Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki a get-out-of-jail-free card. He switched sides in the Yemen conflict and allied himself with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners. As a result, the Eritrean president is now publicly praised by the Yemeni government and welcomed in Arab capitals. His government is also reaping handsome if secret financial rewards in exchange for its diplomatic about-face.

But the fact that Eritrea has decisively escaped Ethiopia’s trap does not mean it has suddenly become a more viable dictatorship. On the contrary, the renewed geostrategic interest in the country and its 750-mile Red Sea coast make the question of who succeeds Afewerki, who has been in power for a quarter century, all the more contentious — especially since Ethiopia has long sought to hand pick a replacement for the Eritrean president. Already, Ethiopia mounts regular small military sorties on the countries’ common border to let Eritrea know who is the regional powerbroker. It would not take much for these tensions to explode into open war.

Saudi Arabia’s revamped security strategy has also meant a sudden influx of Arab funds into Somalia. The Saudis promised $50 million to Mogadishu in exchange for closing the Iranian embassy, for example, while other Arab countries and Turkey have spent lavishly to court the allegiance of Somali politicians. This is partly intra-Sunni competition — Turkish- and Qatar-backed candidates pitted against those funded by the Wahhabi alliance — but it also reflects Somalia’s increasing geopolitical importance. In the country’s national elections scheduled for September, Arab- and Wahhabi-affiliated candidates for parliament could very well sweep the board.

All of this has made Ethiopia very nervous — as it should. The tremors of the region’s shifting tectonic plates may not directly cause a major crisis. The more probable outcome is deeper divisions between Egypt and Ethiopia, which could cause a proliferation or deepening of proxy disputes elsewhere in the region, such as the two countries’ competing efforts to shape the future leadership of Eritrea and Somalia.

Still, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility of a dramatic security crisis stemming from the shifting regional balance of power. It could come in the form of renewed fighting over Eritrea’s still-disputed land borders, or spinoffs from the war in Yemen, such as the eruption of maritime terrorism. That would lead to a dramatic escalation of the militarization of the region. It would also threaten to entirely close the region’s sea lanes — the ones that are so central to global commerce.

Unfortunately, the international community is sorely unprepared for such an outcome. A well-established, multi-country naval coalition patrols the sea lanes off Somalia’s coast to combat piracy, but no international political mechanism currently exists to diffuse a regional crisis. In the relevant bureaucracies that might be called upon in an emergency — from the United Nations to the U.S. State Department — Africa and the Middle East are handled by separate divisions that tend not to coordinate. The EU’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Alex Rondos, has taken the lead in developing an integrated strategy for both shores of the Red Sea, but the EU’s foreign policy instruments are ill-suited to hard security challenges such as this that span two continents.

For its part, the African Union has developed a sophisticated set of conflict management practices for its region. It has taken a hard line against coups and pioneered the principle of non-indifference in the internal affairs of member states — foreshadowing the doctrine of “responsibility to protect.” Its summits serve as gatherings where peer pressure is used for the informal management of conflicts, with more success than is usually recognized. The Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional alliance of Gulf monarchies that would inevitably be involved in a major regional dispute of this kind, should learn from these African best practices. That would require a dramatic change in the mind-set of Arab royal families, which assume that their relationship with Africans is one of patron and client. Too often, the Africans reinforce that mind-set by acting as supplicants. For example, when the African Union sent a delegation to the Gulf countries in November, the agenda wasn’t strategic dialogue or partnership — it was fundraising.

But to prevent Zenawi’s “nightmare scenario” from coming to fruition, the Africans and the Arabs need to recognize the Red Sea as a shared strategic space that demands their coordination. A sensible place to start would be by convening a Red Sea forum composed of the GCC and the AU — plus other interested parties such as the United Nations, European Union, and Asian trading partners — to open lines of communication, discuss strategic objectives for peace and security and agree on mechanisms for minimizing risk. The fast-emerging Red Sea security challenge is well suited to that most prosaic of diplomatic initiatives — a talking shop.

The problem is, all these actors tend to start talking only after a crisis has already exploded. Here’s a timely warning.

Image credit: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Ethio Eritrean Conflict and 100 year old ICC

By Sivu Maqungo

The centennial celebrations of the ‘seat of international law’ – the Peace Palace in The Hague – are about the ideals this building stands for, rather than its beautiful architecture. The Peace Palace houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Hague Academy of International Law. These institutions continue to foster a culture of peaceful conflict resolution, and the two African cases that illustrate this are the dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over Bakassi, on the one hand, and the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea over Badme, on the other. These two cases also exemplify the future of international justice in Africa, what is necessary to cement it and what can unhinge it.

On 14 May 1998, Eritrea, a country of just over 4 million people, launched an attack on Ethiopia, a country of over 80 million people, to seize a piece of land (Badme) administered by Ethiopia. Eritrea claimed sovereignty over Badme, charging that Ethiopia had no right to occupy the territory and was therefore violating its international border. The conflict lasted two years. After more than 100 000 lives were lost, Ethiopia still held Badme and had made inroads into uncontested Eritrean territory. The countries were cajoled into holding peace talks, which took place in Algeria, culminating in the Algiers accord. They agreed to submit their dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which duly established the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) and the Eritrean-Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) to arbitrate the dispute and apportion financial liability respectively.

The EEBC faced complex legal and political challenges. Ethiopia has a long history of sovereignty, while Eritrea had been colonised by Italy, with several boundary agreements having been concluded between Ethiopia and Italy in 1900, 1902 and 1908. Both parties relied on these somewhat inconclusive Ethiopia-Italy boundary agreements for their claim to Badme. The EEBC had to interpret these agreements to decide on the rightful owner of Badme.

In addition, one of the parties had started the conflict and therefore could be held liable for the crime of aggression, but this was left to the EECC to decide. The EEBC was not allowed to take the political circumstances into account, namely that Ethiopia continued to occupy Badme only through great human sacrifice.

The EEBC duly ignored the political circumstances and concerned itself with the law, arriving at a decision that the legal interpretation of the Ethiopia-Italy boundary agreements gave the Badme territory to Eritrea. The EECC, on the other hand, held that the blame for starting the war lay with Eritrea and that Eritrea should thus compensate Ethiopia. The EECC also looked at various claims of breaches of international humanitarian law and held that both Ethiopia and Eritrea had committed breaches for which they should compensate each other.

Ethiopia first rejected the EEBC outcome and then later in principle agreed to it, but said that negotiations should be held in an effort to normalise relations as part of implementing the decision. Eritrea rebuffed Ethiopia’s offer of negotiating the implementation of the EEBC decision, arguing that linking the implementation of the EEBC decision to a process for normalising relations was contrary to the Algiers accord, which provided that the EEBC decision be final and binding.

The President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, called on the international community to compel Ethiopia to implement the EEBC decision. Frustrated by the lack of results, he became contemptuous towards the United Nations (UN) and eventually forced the UN peacekeeping forces to withdraw from the disputed area. This left the matter without a UN mediator and no process for encouraging the implementation of the EEBC decision. To date a stalemate persists on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, resulting in cross-border intrusions that create a lot of tension.

In the Nigeria vs. Cameroon case, Bakassi, a territory rich in fishing with suspected reserves of oil, is strategically very valuable. It is a peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea and was occupied by about 3 000 Nigerian troops, protecting about 300 000 Nigerian nationals who had made the territory their home for generations. Cameroon claimed sovereignty over Bakassi and almost went to war with Nigeria. However, sanity prevailed and the parties submitted their dispute to the other tenant of the Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in March 1994. In 2002, the ICJ, using the colonial treaty of 1913 between Britain and Germany, decided that Bakassi belonged to Cameroon. This was a very bitter pill for Nigeria to swallow, while an increasing number of Bakassi inhabitants started calling for the self-determination of the Bakassi people.

The Nigerian senate sat to consider the judgment of the ICJ and voted to reject it. Years passed and fears grew that Cameroon would find it difficult to accept the injustice and humiliation of the judgment not being implemented. The UN stepped in under the leadership of then Secretary-General Kofi Annan and brokered an implementation plan (the Greentree agreement) between President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroon. This time, unlike in the Ethiopian-Eritrean scenario, the UN found leaders willing to negotiate. Obasanjo, facing considerable resistance from his senate, began the process of implementing the ICJ decision by withdrawing his troops in piecemeal fashion over a number of years, starting in 2006, eventually seeing the full handover of Bakassi to Cameroon in 2012.

These two case studies demonstrate that African leaders sometimes do recognise the value of peaceful dispute resolution and are using the institutions housed in the Peace Palace. However, submitting a case for resolution to any of the Peace Palace tenants is the easy part: the difficulty comes in implementing the decisions. The future of international justice in Africa hinges on this. Will African leaders muster the necessary political courage, as illustrated in the case of Nigeria vs. Cameroon, or succumb to brinkmanship, as in the case of Ethiopia vs. Eritrea?

As the world celebrates the centenary of the Peace Palace, we can draw comfort from the fact that there has been a rise in peaceful resolutions to conflicts, using institutions housed in the Peace Palace. Africa helped to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), the African Union (AU) is in the process of setting up the African Court of Justice, and African regions such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have established regional courts.

Difficulties arise, however, when leaders must live up to the commitments made; an area in which Africa occasionally still stumbles, as demonstrated by the disbandment of the SADC tribunal, the AU’s coldness towards the ICC and the absence of a concerted effort to have Ethiopia and Eritrea work out the modalities of implementing the EEBC decision.

Africa, notwithstanding, is all the better for the establishment of the Peace Palace and should join the rest of the world in celebrating 100 years of this symbol of international justice.

Sivu Maqungo, Senior Research Consultant, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria

Eritrea pays warlord to influence Somalia – U.N. experts

Louis Charbonneau

Somali opposition alliance in Asmara , executive council officials
September 25, 2007

Eritrea is undermining stability in conflict-ravaged Somalia by paying political agents and a warlord linked to Islamist militants to influence the Mogadishu government, U.N. sanctions experts said in a confidential report.

The Eritrean government has long denied playing any negative role in Somalia, saying it has no links to Islamist al Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow the Somali government. It says the U.N. sanctions imposed on it in 2009 for supporting al Shabaab were based on lies and has called for the sanctions to be lifted.The latest annual report by the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea to the Security Council’s Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee casts fresh doubt on Asmara’s denials, undermining its case for lifting the sanctions against it.

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“The Monitoring Group has received numerous reports about the warming of relations between Asmara and Mogadishu, and has obtained evidence of Asmara’s control of political agents close to the Somali presidency and some of the individual spoilers,” the group said in the report, seen by Reuters.

One such operative, the monitors said, is “Eritrean agent of influence Abdi Nur Siad ‘Abdi Wal,’ … who is reported to have a close relationship with a senior al Shabaab commander.”

The monitors describe Abdi Wal as a “warlord.”

“Abdi Wal is now a close ally of former ARS-Asmara (a Somali Islamist network in Eritrea) leader Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi, for whom he provides security in Mogadishu,” the monitors said. “He is known to command the allegiance of about 100 fighters in Mogadishu and is involved in contract killings.”

The monitors said in their report that they have “obtained direct testimonies and concrete evidence of Eritrean support to Abdi Wal and Mohamed Wali Sheikh Ahmed Nuur.” The Monitoring Group has reported on Ahmed Nuur in the past, describing him as a “political coordinator for al Shabaab” and a recipient of funds from Eritrea.

“A source on the Eritrean payroll in direct contact with Abdi Wal has confirmed that Abdi Wal has admitted in closed-door meetings that he is acting as an agent for the Eritrean government,” the group said in its latest report.

Eritrea’s U.N. mission did not respond to a request for comment.

RUSSIAN AND ITALIAN COMPLAINTS

The latest report said that Ahmed Nuur, also known as Ugas Mohamed Wali Sheikh, has repeatedly held meetings in Khartoum with Mohamed Mantai, Eritrea’s ambassador to Sudan and, since December, Iran.

“During these meetings, options for Eritrean financial support to Ahmed Nuur were discussed,” the report said.

“Mantai, a former military intelligence officer, has a history of operating in Somalia and was expelled from Kenya in 2009 after he returned from Somalia following meetings with al Shabaab agents,” the monitors said.

In addition to their nearly 500-page report on Somalia and Eritrea, the Monitoring Group produced a separate report of around 80 pages focusing solely on Eritrea.

Council diplomats said the longer Somalia/Eritrea report will be made public soon, but the shorter Eritrea report will not be published because of Russian objections.

According to a letter the Russian delegation sent to Ambassador Kim Sook, chairman of the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee, Russia “objects to the publication of the (Eritrea) report due to the biased and groundless conclusions and recommendations contained in it.”

Italian Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini also wrote to Kim complaining about the report because of “misleading information and undocumented implications of violations of the arms embargo.” Reuters has obtained both letters.

According to diplomats familiar with the U.N. monitors’ shorter Eritrea report, an Italian helicopter exported to Eritrea for mining survey purposes was seen at a military facility there, raising the possibility of a sanctions breach.

The monitors said Italian authorities failed to provide additional information as requested, the diplomats added.

Ragaglini dismissed that allegation, saying “we did provide the information they requested (e.g. on financial flows), but there is no evidence whatsoever of military assistance from Italy to sustain the undocumented claims of the experts.”

China, diplomats say, is annoyed about references in the Eritrea report to Chinese machine tools procured for a large government depot in Eritrea that houses tanks, missiles and dual-use civilian trucks. But the envoys said there was no suggestion the Chinese government was violating U.N. sanctions.