_____________________ 4 – Angola Press
Asmara accuse l’UA et l’Afrique de l’Est d'”irresponsabilité”
Le gouvernement érythréen a dénoncé samedi “l’irresponsabilité” des pays d’Afrique de l’Est et de l’Union africaine (UA) qui ont appelé l’ONU à prendre des sanctions contre le régime d’Asmara pour son soutien aux insurgés islamistes somaliens.
“C’est une résolution irresponsable d’une organisation inepte (ndlr: l’Igad qui regroupe sept pays d’Afrique de l’Est, dont l’Erythrée est actuellement suspendue de l’organisation) et porte la responsabilité première de la crise actuelle” en Somalie, affirme le ministère érythréen des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué.
L’Autorité intergouvernementale pour le développement (Igad) a réclamé mercredi des sanctions contre l’Erythrée, accusée de soutenir directement les islamistes opposés au gouvernement de transition somalien.
Vendredi soir, l’UA a repris à son compte la position de l’Igad et demandé au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU de prendre des sanctions contre Asmara.
_____________________ 3 – BBC
Erythrée: L’Union Africaine appelle à des sanctions.
L’Union Africaine a demandé aux Nations Unies d’imposer des sanctions immédiates contre l’Erythrée qui soutiendrait les miliciens islamistes en Somalie voisins. L’Erythrée a vigoureusement rejeté ses accusations.
L’Erythrée a depuis longtemps été accusé d’être impliqué dans cette guerre en Somalie, par l’acheminement d’armes aux militants islamistes.
Pour Asmara ses allégations ne sont pas vérifiées, mais au début du mois le ministre somalien de la Sécurité Omar Haashi a accusé l’Erythrée d’avoir envoyé un avion transportant des armes sur un aéroport contrôlé par le groupe islamique radical Al-Shabaab.
Depuis seize ans que l’Erythrée a acquis son indépendance de l’Ethiopie, son rôle supposé dans la crise interne somalienne aggrave la situation, et cela a été dénoncé par des instances comme l’Union Africaine et les Nations Unies.
On pense généralement que l’Erythrée mène en Somalie une guerre par procuration contre l’Ethiopie. Les deux pays demeurent toujours en conflit depuis leur différent non encore résolu depuis 1998, et qui a provoqué deux ans de conflit frontalier des dizaines de milliers de morts.
Président Isaias Afewerki, aujourd’hui âgé de la soixantaine, est pour ses sympathisants, un symbole de résistance, et quelqu’un qui a conduit son pays à l’indépendance après trente ans de guerre avec l’Ethiopie.
Mais pour ces critiques il est perçu comme un président autoritaire qui a provoqué l’isolation de son régime qualifié de répressif.
Les organisations des droits de l’Homme ont recensé bon nombre d’emprisonnement de journalistes indépendants, et de personnes obligées de servir dans les rangs de l’armée de façon indéfinie.
Le mois dernier, Human Right Watch a déclaré qu’un grand nombre d’érythréens fuyaient le pays, et que l’économie nationale stagnait, laissant une majorité de la population dans la pauvreté totale.
_____________________ 2 – Shabelle avec Reuters (En Anglais)
Un responsable somalien des milices insurgés affirme que l’Erythrée soutient les combats. // Somali insurgent says Eritrea supports fight
An influential Somali insurgent leader said on Friday Eritrea supported the rebel fight against the government in a holy war that was as much an obligation for Muslims as prayer.
Speaking in his office in northern Mogadishu, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said a few Arab fighters had joined the rebellion, which is battling to overthrow Somalia’s new government and President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
Heavy fighting on Friday in the capital killed at least 45 people and wounded 182, the highest daily death toll in more than two weeks of intense battles, after government forces launched a dawn offensive on Islamist strongholds.
“Eritrea supports us and Ethiopia is our enemy — we once helped both countries but Ethiopia did not reward us,” Aweys, dressed in a dark suit, told Reuters in an interview.
Eritrea has been blamed for supplying the hardline Islamist insurgents with weapons — a charge it has repeatedly denied — and the United Nations says hundreds of foreign fighters have joined rebel ranks in recent months.
“There may be two or three Arabs who were moved by Islam to fight alongside us. But there is no large number of foreign Mujahideen in Mogadishu. We and the Arabs are all Muslims — so we are Arabs,” he said.
“We are not fighting for positions, but for Islam. It is agreed upon within Islam that Christians and those they support are the same — so war is incumbent upon us, like prayer.”
The insurgents want to rid the Horn of Africa nation of African Union peackeepers, impose a strict version of sharia law and overthrow an administration they see as Western stooges.
“Somalia has no government we recognise,” said Aweys. “We should not be deceived by Westerners like Sharif.”
Neighbouring states and Western security forces fear Somalia, which has been mired in civil war for 18 years, could become a haven for militants linked to al Qaeda.
Mindful of disastrous U.S.-U.N. intervention in the early 1990s, which collapsed after the “Black Hawk Down” killing of 18 American soldiers, Western powers are unlikely to intervene.
Aweys and Ahmed together ran Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia in late 2006 as leaders of the Islamic Courts Union before Ethiopian troops invaded and drove them from power.
The two Islamists — Aweys was always considered the more hardline — went into exile in Eritrea and formed the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) which aimed to oust the Western-backed government and its Ethiopian backers.
But Ahmed joined a U.N.-hosted peace process in neighbouring Djibouti last year and was elected president by an expanded parliament including ARS members in January. Parliament has since voted to introduce sharia law throughout the country.
Aweys, who is on U.N. and U.S. terrorism lists for alleged links to al Qaeda, returned to Somalia from Eritrea in April. [ID:nL1367419] Envoys from Ahmed and clan elders have tried to persuade him to reconcile with the president, but failed.
“Palestine, Afghanistan and Eritrea resisted war and difficulties for more than three decades,” he said.
“We shall defeat the government soon, God willing. Let the injured ones and those who lost their brothers be patient — we are left with little time — and then God will grant us victory,” Aweys said with a chuckle.
_____________________ 1 – Shabelle avec XINHUA (En Anglais)
L’Erythrée rejette les accusations du Conseil de Sécurité (ONU) qui la soupçonne de contribuer à la déstabilisation en Somalie. // Eritrea rejects Security Council accusations of destabilizing Somalia
The government of Eritrea categorically rejects accusations by the United Nations Security Council that it is supplying arms to destabilize Somalia’s Transitional Government, which is a product of “ill-advised formulas,” according to a letter addressed to the president of the Security Council made public here on Friday.
“I wish to put on record my government’s strong opposition to, and categorical rejection of, the unsubstantiated accusations leveled against my country,” said Eritrean Ambassador to the UN Araya Desta in a May 19 letter. “As my government has underlined on many occasions, the highly complex and grave conflict in Somalia will not be resolved by arbitrary and ill-advised formulas that have no basis in international law and that do not reflect the wishes and sovereign political choices of the Somali people.”
On May 18, the 15-nation Council adopted a presidential statement expressing its “concern over reports that Eritrea has supplied arms to those opposing the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in breach of the UN arms embargo” and called on the Sanctions Monitoring Group to investigate.
In his letter, Desta said that Eritrea has been “falsely accused of ‘sending troops or supplying weapons’ to ‘this or that Somali faction’ on several occasions before” and alluded that such accusations were motivated and “conveniently timed with illegal acts of interference and invasion of Somalia by certain powers and their regional allies.”
In 2006, backed by the Security Council and the United States, Ethiopia invaded Somalia to oust Al-Shabab — once the armed wing of the Islamic Courts Union, which was designated a terrorist group by the United States and declared to be affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
Subsequently, Somalia’s weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was installed, led by one of the former Islamic Courts Union leaders, and a peace agreement was signed in Khartoum, Sudan.
But from the start, the TFG was viewed with suspicion as being under the power of neighboring Ethiopia, a country with a large Christian population. But perhaps more importantly, the TFG has failed to bring stability to the region, causing Somali and neighboring populations to become increasingly disillusioned.
“Transitional Governments’ that are periodically hatched in non-inclusive incubators outside Somalia have never survived the test of time in the past years in spite of the huge military and financial support extended to them by their external sponsors,” said Desta in his letter, adding that the Security Council’s endorsement of Ethiopia’s invasion was “deplorable” and created “two years of chaos and mayhem.”
“Over half a million Somalis were dislocated, numerous villages pulverized in indiscriminate air attacks, and tens of thousands of civilians killed,” he said. “At the time, the broad collation of the Union of Islamic Courts was routinely condemned, wrongly labeled as ‘the epicenter of terrorism’ while the ‘Transitional Government’ of the day was condoned as the sole legitimate authority.”
Desta called into question the reports on which the Security Council made its decision to accuse Eritrea of destabilizing the TFG. Their “origins, underlying motivation and veracity have neither been acknowledged nor ascertained,” said the letter.
The international community, beleaguered by pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, has taken a renewed interest in the country’s stability and has reaffirmed its support for the TFG as the legitimate authority. This, Desta said, is “an experiment” that has not proved fruitful.