• United States is very much interested in additional pressure and sanctions….we think that that is timely.
  • We believe there is a famine in Eritrea…we’re deeply concerned

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said that US believes more UN sanctions are necessary and timely to halt Eritrean terrorism. Amb. Rice made the statement during a press briefing in New York UN Security Council building on Wednesday.

Responding to questions from a journalist, Ambassador Rice said US believes there is famine in Eritrea and deeply concerned about it.

The press briefing focused on issues pertaining to Somalia, Syria, Eritrea, and Sudan.

Here is the part that concerns Eritrea.


Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York, NY

August 10, 2011

Reporter: On Somalia, it is said that the U.S. is seeking additional sanctions against Eritrea. Is that true? And if so, why? And on human rights reporting, are you frustrated that the South Kordofan human rights report hasn’t yet been released by the UN? And what should the UN be doing about those people in South Kordofan?

Ambassador Rice: The United States is very, very concerned about Eritrea’s behavior in the region. Its support for Al-Shabaab, its support to destabilize its neighbors is documented quite thoroughly and persuasively in the report of the special panel. We heard during the session last month from virtually all of Eritrea’s neighbors that they face a pattern of destabilization that is quite troubling and quite disturbing. Moreover, we’re profoundly troubled and we have clearly condemned the support that Eritrea lent to the terrorist attack that was planned for—to coincide with the African Union summit last January in Addis Ababa. We think that’s an absolutely abhorrent development, and we think it merits the full attention of the Council. Yes, the United States is very much interested in additional pressure and sanctions being applied on Eritrea. This is something that we’ll continue to discuss and debate in the Security Council. But from the U.S. point of view, we think that that is timely.

Reporter: …is there a famine in Eritrea? The idea of imposing sanctions …

Ambassador Rice: Well, first of all, any measures to be contemplated would be carefully targeted and would not go in any way to harm the people of Eritrea, who are suffering enough as it is. We believe there is a famine in Eritrea, but we’re deeply concerned that none of us know because they have barred UN agencies, barred NGOs. It has become a black hole in terms of governance and humanitarian ground truth. And the people of Eritrea, who must…most likely are suffering the very same food shortages that we’re seeing throughout the region are being left to starve because there is not access, there’s a clear cut denial of access by the government of Eritrea of food and other humanitarian support for its people. Thank you.

On Kordofan, let me just say—yes, we’re looking forward to the release of the report that we requested back in June. We think that it’s important for the United Nations—whether it’s through its dwindling presence on the ground or through the human rights agencies and authorities—to give us, the member states, as clear a picture as they can of the unfolding humanitarian circumstances in Southern Kordafan, and to provide insight and investigate the allegations of abuses.

Thank you.


Check the Eritrean Terrorism Archive for previous and upcoming posts.

Daniel Berhane