The Africa Union (AU) says it stands by
its recommendation to the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions
on Eritrea despite Asamara's sharp denial.
The AU said public pronouncement by
Sheik Dahir Aweys, a Somali opposition leader that his insurgent group receives
help from Eritrea supports its suspicion of Asamara.
Somalia has often accused
neighboring Eritrea of supporting hard line insurgent groups including
al-Shabab who aim to overthrow the new Somali administration. But Asamara
denies the charges describing the Africa Unions recommendation as irresponsible
Ambassador Nichola Bwakira is AU's special envoy to Somalia. He told VOA that the continental body is right to recommend
sanctions to be imposed on Eritrea.
23 of the AU charter foresees and stipulates that AU can impose sanctions on a
member state on specific issues. And in this case the AU Peace And Security
decided to request sanctions against Eritrea because of the role it is playing
in the conflict presently in Mogadishu," Bwakira said.
said the Africa Union was aware of Eritrea's role in supporting Somali Islamic
insurgents who have been waging war against the new administration.
substantiate all these, I will like to mention that Sheikh Aweys has publicly
stated that he is receiving assistance from the state of Eritrea. So, the
position of the AU is based on those facts," he said.
said there was no need to present empirical proof to challenge Asamara's denial
of involvement in supporting Somali insurgents.
is no need to ascertain the fact of the matter because the beneficiary of the
assistance has said it publicly…do you need more proof than that? Public
admission," Bwakira said.
said there confirmed reports of Asamara's support to the insurgents.
had information about training and funding that it had never been stated by the
beneficiary before. But now it has been publicly stated by Sheikh Aweys," he
week, the Africa Union recommended to the United Nations Security Council to
impose sanctions on Eritrea after accusing Asamara of supporting hard line
Somali insurgents who are fighting the government.
This prompted Asmara to recall its ambassador
to the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa a move which is could turn acidic the
diplomatic relations between Eritrea and the continental body.
Bwakira said the continental body will
keep its doors open despite Asamara's recall of its ambassador to the Africa
think the Africa Union remains open to hold discussions. If Eritrea wants to
contest that by all means they would be able to take all the steps to deny and
prove its innocence," Bwakira said.
said would prefer to repose confidence in Asamara not having a hand in the
Somali ongoing violent clashes, but the evidence could not be avoided.
would be happy if Eritrea was not supporting the insurgency in Somalia," he
gave high marks for Somalia's new administration who he said has surmounted
difficult challenges posed by opposition forces.
think the government has been performing very well under difficult
circumstances," Bwakira said.
Mogadishu accuses neighboring Eritrea of supporting
Islamist militants with planeloads of AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled
grenades and other weapons to fuel fighting there.
But Eritrea's President
Isaias Afewerki has sharply denied the allegation, saying United States agents
were spreading lies to tarnish the reputation of his government.
Hard line Somali Islamic
Insurgents including al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam are fighting President Sheikh
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government with the aim of taking over the country.
Al-Shabab has described the
new Somali administration as a creation of the west to control the natural
resources of the country.
Described by Washington as a
terrorist organization with strong ties to Al Qaeda, al-Shabab has refused to
recognize the new Somali administration vowing to violently take over the
country and impose the strict form the of Sharia law.
Somalia has been without an
effective government since 1991 after former President Mohammed Siad Barre was
overthrown in a coup d'état which led to a deterioration of security in the
capital, Mogadishu and the entire country.