From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sun Aug 16 2009 - 06:34:02 EDT
Congressman Donald Payne objects sanctions.
Written by CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-HOUSE H6499)
Saturday, 15 August 2009
United Nations Security Council call to impose sanctions against Eritrea. "I
strongly oppose. While I certainly respect my esteemed colleague from
California, Ed Royce, who served as an excellent chairman on the
Subcommittee on Africa for several years, and we worked closely together on
many issues, and I have a great deal of respect for him, I must oppose this
amendment. This amendment could undermine critical engagements currently
going on between the U.S. and Eritrea. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''
The Royce amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of
State should designate Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism and that the
U.N. Security Council should impose sanctions against Eritrea. I urge you to
vote against this amendment for the following reasons:
* First, some of the assertions made in the amendment are factually
wrong and dated.
* Second, the geopolitical dynamics and interstate rivalries in the
Horn of Africa cannot be addressed properly without concerted diplomatic
engagement. Declaring Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism and imposing
international sanctions would do nothing to further our diplomatic aims and
would impose further hardship on the people who are struggling to survive on
a daily basis.
* Thirdly, while Mr. Royce's amendment lays out a long list of reasons
why he feels Eritrea should be placed on a state sponsor of terrorism list,
the proposed amendment does not recognize the diplomatic efforts currently
underway by the State Department to address the complex issues surrounding
the Horn of Africa. Just last month, Eritrea President Isaias Akwerki sent a
letter to President Obama expressing the desire to engage on these issues
and is sending a high-level delegation to Washington.
* Additionally, a senior State Department official is expected to
visit Asmara in a few weeks. Moreover, the Somali Government has said they
want to engage with Asmara. Lastly, putting Eritrea on a sanctions list
would have limited effect on our effort to try to stabilize the region and
build alliances with governments in a wider battle against extremism.
We should urge the administration to take careful note of the issues raised
by Representative Royce, and I have written a letter to the President to
that effect. The administration is engaging Asmara. We must allow these
diplomatic discussions to continue. In my last trip to Asmara 1 year ago, I
met with the President and did indicate changes that would have to be made.
The current President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, was in Asmara
and went back, and now is trying to lead a government which is fighting
against al Shabaab and al Qaeda. And so at this time, I think that this
amendment would disrupt sensitive diplomatic issues that are going on. I
urge my colleagues to vote against the Royce amendment and al Qaeda. And so
at this time, I think that this amendment would disrupt sensitive diplomatic
issues that are going on. I urge my colleagues to vote against the ..
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