What's In Blue

Posted Tue 29 Nov 2011

Possible Council Vote on Eritrea Resolution

It appears that Gabon circulated a revised draft resolution on Eritrea this afternoon, announcing its intention of putting it to a vote tomorrow (Wednesday, 30 November). While recent negotiations seem to have succeeded in narrowing differences between Council members, most on the Council seem not to have expected a vote so soon. (It seems the fact that tomorrow is the last day of the existing presidency in the Council might have been a factor in the timing.) It is unclear, however, whether Gabon has formally asked to have the draft put in blue, which would be necessary for the vote to proceed tomorrow.

In the latest draft it seems that some of the most controversial provisions proposed earlier have been revised. Instead of calling for an outright ban on investments in the Eritrean mining industry and urging states to prevent the provision of financial services that could contribute to destabilising activities, the text appears to call on states to “exercise increased vigilance” in these same areas. It also seems that references to terrorism have similarly been deleted.

Other less controversial provisions that remain in the draft text seem to focus on Eritrea’s compliance with previous Council decisions, including resolutions 733, 1862, 1844 and 1907 and strict implementation of the existing sanctions regime. It is unclear whether the latest revisions satisfy all of the concerns previously expressed by Council members. Although the text is seen as more “balanced” by several Council members than previous drafts condemning Eritrea, some Council members still seem to have doubts about whether to support the resolution.

An additional element under consideration by the Council is the request submitted by Eritrea on 25 October (S/2011/663) for the Eritrean president to appear before the Council in order to respond to the allegations made against it in the latest report by the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (S/2011/433). Some Council members seem to be arguing that the Council needs to listen to Eritrea before taking any further action against it. (Kenya and Ethiopia have made similar requests as Eritrea and—if the latter is invited—it seems they will likely be invited as well.) Several Council members seem to support this view, although the US has so far been opposed to granting the request.

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