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Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signs a peace accord with Ethiopia in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 16, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

With U.N. Sanctions on Eritrea Lifted, a Pariah State Comes in From the Cold

Friday, Nov. 16, 2018

In a sign of rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics in the Horn of Africa, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to lift sanctions against Eritrea. The move comes amid a rapid thaw in Eritrea’s relations with neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia. The leaders of all three countries met for a rare summit in September, raising hopes for broader regional cooperation.

In a further sign of detente, Somalia and Ethiopia advocated at the U.N. for the sanctions to be lifted, strengthening Eritrea’s case. The sanctions, which included an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on Eritrean officials, were first imposed nine years ago for the Eritrean government’s alleged support for terrorist groups like al-Shabab. According to Awet Weldemichael, a professor of African history and politics at Queen’s University in Canada, the underlying evidence for this support was never convincing, but that did not stop the sanctions from being weaponized by Eritrea’s erstwhile enemies. ...

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