13/08/07 (B408) BBC / Les USA commencent à couper les ponts diplomatiques avec l’Erythrée – US moves to shut Eritrean mission (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

The United States has ordered the closure of Eritrea’s consulate in California, in a sign of worsening diplomatic relations.

US embassy officials in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, say the decision is due to a string of restrictions imposed on its embassy.

In response, Eritrea has accused the US of an unjust and unfriendly policy.

Relations between the two countries soured after US-backed Ethiopia entered Somalia to fight Islamist forces.

The BBC’s Peter Martell in Asmara says the closure will affect the Eritrean government’s attempt to collect a 2% income tax on Eritrean expatriates in California – an important source of income.

This row is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat measures the countries have imposed on each other.

These include Eritrean demands to inspect confidential diplomatic bags against international conventions, as well as imposing visa restrictions – claims rejected by Eritrea.