7 November 2018
by ABDUR RAHMAN ALFA SHABAN
Eritrean ports will be major beneficiaries of proposed United Nations lifting of sanctions on the country and recent regional developments. This is the view of a former United States Assistant Secretary of State, Herman Cohen.
According to Cohen, the trade potentials of the port of Massawa, which faces the Middle East, is a huge opportunity for the country that has for close to two decades been shut out from economic use of its ports.
The U.N. Security Council, UNSC, late last week hinted that it is considering lifting sanctions on Eritrea on November 14. The move follows the historic July 18, 2018 rapprochement with Ethiopia.
A British-drafted resolution, seen by Reuters, proposes the immediate removal of an arms embargo and targeted sanctions – a travel ban and asset freeze – imposed on Eritrea.
It also strongly encourages Eritrea and Djibouti to work towards normalizing ties and settling a decade-old border dispute. It must be noted that leaders of the two countries met recently in the Saudi city of Riyadh.
Lifting of UN sanctions on #Eritrea + regional detente = opportunity: enormous trade potential in port cities like Massawa, facing the Middle East. To secure that prosperity, focus on stability & peace in the Horn, while preventing the spread of Islamist terrorism.
— Herman J. Cohen (@CohenOnAfrica) November 6, 2018
However, diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said France and some other council members were keen to maintain some sort of diplomatic pressure on Eritrea. Council members can propose changes to the text during negotiations on the draft resolution this week.
Ethiopia and Eritrea in July declared an end to their state of war and agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights between the two countries after decades of hostilities.