U.N. ratchets up sanctions on Eritrea
By the CNN Wire Staff
December 5, 2011 -- Updated 2342 GMT (0742 HKT)
U.N. Resolution 2023 adds sanctions on Eritrea
The country allegedly supports armed groups seeking to destabilize the Horn of Africa
The resolution comes two years after a previous one imposing sanctions on Eritrea
(CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council on Monday slapped additional sanctions on Eritrea for allegedly providing support to armed groups seeking to destabilize Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa.
"This resolution underscores the international community's condemnation of Eritrea's destabilizing behavior ... and its support for terrorism," said Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "Today we have sent a clear message to the government of Eritrea that it must cease all illegal actions threatening international peace and stability in the Horn of Africa."
The decision to pass Resolution 2023 came two years after the council adopted Resolution 1907, which imposed sanctions on Eritrea for failing to engage "constructively in resolving its border dispute with Djibouti," Rice said in a statement. "Most alarmingly, it was providing political, financial and logistical support to armed groups seeking to undermine peace in Somalia."
Since then, the United States has "continually received evidence of Eritrean support for extremist groups in the region" and Eritrea still has not resolved its border dispute, she said.
"The U.N.'s Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group has documented Eritrea's support for terrorism, including an appalling, planned attack on the January 2011 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa," she said. "According to the monitoring group, Eritrea is financing all of these activities through illicit means, including threats and the extortion of a 'diaspora tax' from people of Eritrean descent living overseas."
Monday's imposition of tougher sanctions came in response to that, she said, adding, "Our goal is to show Eritrea that it will pay an ever higher price for its actions."
In a statement issued November 29, Eritrea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for an investigation into the "groundless rumors" and other claims against Eritrea.
"Whereas it is Eritrea's legitimate right to challenge these baseless campaigns of incrimination in an open forum, the Security Council itself is duty-bound to investigate issues submitted to it and thereby take the necessary measures," it said.
It called for "an initiative that could bring viable solution for the Somali issue."
In Monday's text, which was sponsored by Gabon and Nigeria, the council demanded that Eritrea "cease all direct or indirect efforts to destabilize states."
The council also called on Eritrea to move forward with Djibouti to resolve the border dispute.
Monday's resolution won support from 13 of the council's 15 members. China and Russia abstained. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said there was not enough evidence to prove that Eritrea was behind the attacks against the African Union.