Ethiopia's prime minister and Eritrea's President bromance pays off handsomely after UN lifts off 9-year sanction

Eritrea occupies a strategic location on the Red Sea, which connects Europe, Africa and the East.

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  • On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to lift sanctions against Eritrea, paving way for the northeast African country bordering Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti to chat a new path to prosperity.
  • UN imposed an arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban in 2009 amid claims that Eritrea supported Al-Shabab militants in Somalia, an accusation Eritrea has always denied.
  • The lifting of sanctions comes on the background of recent restoration of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to lift sanctions against Eritrea, paving way for the northeast African country bordering Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti to chat a new path to prosperity.

"The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the tripartite agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, mark the beginning of a new dawn,” Said Eritrean Permanent Representative to the UN, Amanuel Giorgio.

UN imposed an arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban in 2009 amid claims that Eritrea supported Al-Shabab militants in Somalia, an accusation Eritrea has always denied and termed as fabrication created by US intelligence officials.

The United Kingdom chaired the drafting process of the resolution to lift sanctions with the UK’s ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce saying that the resolution recognised improvements in regional peace and security.

United States and its allies backed the proposal to lift the nine-year old sanctions.

Since the sanctions were imposed, Eritrea has lobbied and fought hard against them. But three times over that period, the UN Security Council has always voted to maintain them, claiming the country was a destabilising factor in the Horn of Africa region.

The lifting of sanctions comes on the background of recent restoration of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, a close ally of the US, especially in the fight against al-Shabab.

One of the prerequisites for signing the peace agreement in July was that Ethiopia push for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to lift the sanctions.

Eritrea agreed a peace deal with Ethiopia in June following two decades of animosity, while the leader of Eritrea and the UN-backed government in Somalia recently signed a joint cooperation agreement.

On the month of September 2018, an Ethiopian commercial ship named “Mekelle” docked at the Massawa port in Eritrea, effectively marking the first time in over two decades since a vessel from either country has docked in the other’s port.

Similarly, after more than 20 years, families on Ethiopian and Eritrean border were finally able to reunite after a border crossing at Bure, a region that saw some of the fiercest fightings during the 1998-2000 war, was reopened.

Since then, diplomatic ties have resumed and both air and land transport between the two countries have reopened.

Ethiopia's Prime minister Abiy Ahmed, seen by many as a reformer  and Eritrea's President Isaias Afewerki have since become inseparable and regularly hang out together.

Eritrea occupies a strategic location on the Red Sea, which connects Europe, Africa and the East. However, due to the sanctions its economy has taken a beating.

The Eritrean government now says it wants compensation for the sanctions, which it insists were politically motivated.

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