Rapprochement process in the Horn of Africa [fr]
Sanctions regime - Somalia & Erythrea
Explanation of vote by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political coordinator at the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Security Council - 14 November 2018
France takes note of the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2444 (2018). From the outset France has given unwavering support to the ongoing rapprochement process in the Horn of Africa. This is a historic development, creating unprecedented opportunities for stabilization and development in the region. France would therefore like to commend the courageous decision of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, without whom these developments would not have been possible.
It is the Security Council’s responsibility to support these developments in the Horn of Africa, including by lifting the sanctions on Eritrea. Nevertheless, we believe that the Security Council still has legitimate demands with regard to Eritrea. First and foremost, the Eritrean authorities must cooperate with the Council, given that the Panel of Experts on Somalia has not been able visit Eritrea since 2011. Above all, Eritrea must give concrete signs that it wants to work with Djibouti to settle the issues of the border dispute between the two countries and of the Djibouti prisoners of war, in accordance with the provisions of resolution 2385 (2017). Those two issues continue to be unresolved, as the resolution that we have adopted today acknowledges. In that context, while France welcomed the meeting in Jeddah in September between the Presidents of Djibouti and Eritrea, we now expect that meeting to lead to concrete progress on the ground and a commitment to moving forward together.
In that regard, we believe it is crucial to ensure that no country in the region is left on the sidelines during the evolving situation in the Horn of Africa. France therefore welcomes the fact that with this resolution, the Security Council commits to regular monitoring of developments in the relationship between Eritrea and Djibouti in order to support peace, stabilization and reconciliation in the Horn of Africa. We are of course ready to work in coordination with all of the stakeholders in the region to contribute to strengthening this regional dynamic.
With regard to Somalia, France is of the view that the sanctions regime remains crucial to combating illicit trafficking in arms and Somali charcoal, which fuels the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, still the main threat to Somalia’s security. In that regard, I would like to express France’s condolences to the Somali authorities and to the families of the victims of the terrible terrorist attacks on Mogadishu on Friday, 9 November. I would also like mainly at supporting the Somali Federal Government in their fight against terrorism. The exemptions from the arms embargo that the sanctions regime provides for enable them to acquire the equipment they need to combat terrorist groups, with the support of their international partners. It is therefore in the interests of the Somali Federal Government to pursue effective cooperation with the Panel of Experts on Somalia.