UN: Overseas Help Building Eritrean Military Base Violates Arms Embargo
The UN has warned that foreign nations helping Eritrea to build a new military base are violating an arms embargo placed on the country.
In a report released earlier this month, the United Nations clarified its position on the military conduct of overseas nations in Eritrea. Last week the UN renewed the arms embargo placed on both Eritrea and Somali, citing the risk of militant group Al-Shabaab obtaining weapons from the two countries.
Arms embargo most likely violated
The UN says it has collected data over the last year that suggests Eritrea is building a new military base at Assab airport alongside a new seaport. The organisation also suspects “here may have been external support for infrastructure development that could benefit the Eritrean military.”
This month’s report confirms that such support would be in violation of the arms embargo and urged the security council to advise UN member states on compliance.
Military presences not a violation
The situation in Eritrea becomes complicated when overseas nations establish their own military presence in the country. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have done precisely this over the last couple of years, as part of a Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The UN wants to make it clear that using Eritrea’s land, waters and airspace does not violate the arms embargo. However, Eritrea isn’t donating territory to overseas nations out of generosity. There has to be something in it for the East African nation – and this is where things can get murky.
The UN warns that any “compensation diverted directly or indirectly towards activities that threatened peace and security in the region, or for the benefit of the Eritrean military, would constitute a violation.”