Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- As Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, threatened to impose sanctions on Eritrea for what she called attempts to destabilize Somalia, Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed reiterated his country’s stand on the Somali issue, saying that the solution of this issue lies in the hands of the Somali people without any external interventions.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdu Ahmed said that Somalia is passing through a fateful phase and developments that have brought it to a crossroads. He said that the third illegal government is waiting for its death certificate like its predecessors. He pointed out that the task of the Somali people at this stage is to rebuild their country and homeland that is facing challenges represented in the actions of various forces that are trying to abort this approach by placing obstacles on the way in the service of their aims and interests. Abdu added: “Everyone knows that the diplomacy of these forces in their relations with the states and governments of the world is based on the policy of the carrot and the stick to bring to their knees those that do not submit to their policies”. He pointed out that Eritrea’s position on this issue has been clear since the beginning. Eritrea has been reiterating at every occasion that the Somali issue is being falsely portrayed as extremism when it has nothing to do with extremism. It is a matter of existence or non-existence of a united and sovereign Somalia, he said. Eritrea has also publicly stated its firm stand that the “balkanization” of Somalia and the imposition of imported governments on it that have been tailored outside based on standards that fit its designers is illegal. He added that neither the United Nations Security Council nor the United Nations has the right, power, and legitimacy to be above the law and the international charters. Thus they cannot be above the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.
The Eritrean information minister went on to say that his country’s stand that it declared openly and publicly did not please some countries that pressured the United Nations and its Security Council to resort to the carrot and the stick. This approach, he said, is unacceptable to the Eritrean government. It is an autocratic policy that does not work with it and in which it does not believe. The Eritrean minister criticized Uganda’s stand on his country. He said: “What is more perplexing in the implied threats of the United Nations Security Council is the stand of Uganda that is the representative member for Africa in the Security Council. Instead of using this forum to defend the issues of this continent and its peoples that are suffering from many crises and ordeals, Uganda has turned into a pliant tool in the service of countries that have exposed and known interests in the region”. The Eritrean minister added: “Just as a reminder, Eritrean President Isaias Afworki invited President Yoweri Museveni to Eritrea to clarify the dimensions of the Somali issue and the threads of the plot being woven against this country. However, the shameful Ugandan position was similar to that of IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa] and its states that became a party to the problem instead of looking for solutions with impartiality. This makes us reiterate that the origins of the crisis – not just the Somali crisis but also the crisis in the region as a whole – is the government in power in Ethiopia and its approach that is totally subservient to and that serves the interests of countries that have designs in the region”.
The Eritrean information minister said that the interests of the United States in a divided Somalia were represented in the signing of the provisional government in Somalia of an agreement with a US company to manage the financial affairs of Somalia. He said that the priorities required the establishment of security and stability first and the restructuring of the state institutions. After that comes the issue of managing these institutions. He compared this to the plan that the United States adopted in Iraq in the days of Paul Bremer’s administration. He wondered about the United Nations stand on the referendum that the “Republic of Somaliland” intends to hold regarding independence. In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday [ 1 August], Somali Foreign Minister Muhammad Omar Abdullah had demanded penalties on Eritrea for what he described as Eritrean constant and direct interference in the Somali crisis. He accused Asmara of supporting the various extremist groups in Somalia to overthrow the government. He pointed out that Eritrean President Isaias Afworki refused to recognize the legitimacy of the transitional power in Somalia, describing it as a blatant defiance of the will of the international community.
Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said that her country is worried and frustrated with the conduct of Eritrea in Somalia, including its actions to arm and fund the Islamist insurgents in Somalia. She said, “Eritrea has little time left to stop undermining the security of Somalia. Otherwise, it will face sanctions from the United Nations”.