Eritrea in Secret Talks with UN

February 24, 2014

Waagacusub.net- Two years ago it would have been unthinkable that Eritrea would countenance a meeting with the much derided UN monitors on Somalia and Eritrea. However, it now appears there’s a cooling of relations between the two. Waagacusub can reveal that the Monitoring Group has been holding secret meetings with the Government of Eritrea aimed at letting the Group access Eritrea in order to implement its mandate.

Waagacusub can confirm the Monitoring Group held a second round of secret talks in Cairo, Egypt last week on 14 February 2014. According to a provisional agenda obtained by Waagacusub and confirmed as authentic by UN sources in Mogadishu, issues for discussion included: the Monitoring Group’s cooperation with the Government of Eritrea and the UN monitors’ next engagement with Eritrea.

The sudden change in relations between the intrusive Group and Eritrea comes after what both Eritrean and UN officials, according to Twitter postings, note is a more relaxed approach to sanctions monitoring by the Group.

Waagacusub has also learned that Dr. Jarat Chopra the former World Bank diplomat and current Coordinator of the Group is credited with being responsible for the new approach towards Eritrea. Unconfirmed information posted on Twitter in cites diplomats at the UN praising Chopra for having the necessary skills to transparently deal with Eritrea.

“Chopra has learned from past mistakes of previous Groups when it comes to Monitoring,” said a senior UNSOM official during a phone interview with Waagacusub. According to Eritrean sources, the new Eritrean team led by Chopra has been “quite determined to engage Eritrea.”

In its last report in July 2013, the Monitoring Group accused the Government of Eritrea of still providing support to Al-Shabaab in violation of the arms embargo. The United Nations Security Council has placed Eritrea under sanctions since 2009 for arming, training and financing the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab, an accusation the Government of Eritrea strenuously denies.