- Eritrea has dismissed as a 'smear campaign' allegations that it supports Islamist insurgents in neighbouring Somalia.
The Eritrean ambassador to Kenya, Salih Omar Abdu, said the accusations, repeatedly made by the US and the African Union, are a "smear campaign".
He told the BBC's Africa programme, that his country was supporting a united Somalia for the interest of all its people, further stating that Eritrea had a legal obligation to support the Somali people.
He however stressed that only the Somali people can resolve the problems of the country, saying some of the neighbours were bent on giving support in a favourable way.
Eritrea has recently come under criticism that its supports insurgency in the neighbouring Somalia, with both the United States and the African Union threatening consequencial action.
Last month the AU leadership pleaded with the United Nations to slap Eritrea with sanctions for allegedly aiding Islamist insurgency seeking to overthrow the fragile Somali Transitional Government.
The Eritrean government denounced reports as an insult to the government, further saying they are meant to frustrate the government’s efforts of helping the sister country.
A statement by the AU summit in Libya had appealed to the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on all outside actors including Eritrea, which provide support to armed groups in the war torn Somalia.
In response, the United Nations warned that any party breaking the arms ban in Somalia will have to face serious sanctions, saying the ban is now being monitored by a UN group, which will report back to the Security Council.
“Sanctions will be applied on any country violating the embargo depending on the findings of the monitoring group,” the UN said in a statement.
The UN said sanctions would have a number of negative effects on Eritrea because they harm the local economy, which would negatively impact the ordinary citizen and civilian population.
Reports have said Eritrea which has been on Ethiopia’s neck since the early 1990’s has been backing Somalia rebels to topple the government which the Ethiopian troops fought hard to out in 2006.
Eritrea has been a menace in the Horn of Africa having been involved in two serious conflicts on border demarcation with its neighbours.
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