News Brief

The UN Has Lifted Its Sanction on Eritrea After Nine Years

Members voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove a nine year sanction—removing a trade embargo and travel ban.

After nine years, the United Nations has voted unanimously to lift Eritrea's economic sanctions, as a result of the government's attempts to foster friendlier relations with neighboring countries Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.

The sanction which was put in place in by the UN Security Council in 2009, after the Eritrean government was accused of backing the Somali extremist group al-Shabab—which it denied. The block included an embargo on trade, an asset freeze and travel ban—making the country a "global pariah," reports BBC Africa.


READ: PEOPLE REJOICE AS PHONE LINES OPEN BETWEEN ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA

The lift comes at the of sweeping political changes in the horn of Africa. Eritrea ended its 20 year war with Ethiopia in June, and signed a joint cooperation deal with Somalia. After years of border disputes, tensions are now easing between Eritrea and Djibouti. The UN commended the "efforts toward peace, stability and reconciliation in the region" when voting.

Eritrea, which strongly opposed the sanction and lobbied against it for years, is seeking compensation for the near decade long sanction, claiming that they were politically motivates, adds BBC Africa.

Amanuel Giorgio, Eritrea's Charge d'Affaires, called it a historic moment, adding that "Eritreans are extremely joyous and full of pride to have witnessed the recent positive regional developments ... (that) mark the beginning of a new dawn."

Though this is being hailed as a significant step towards easing relations in the region, many international observers remain hesitant to laud Eritrea just yet. It is still considered unsafe for journalists and many of the reforms occurring in neighboring Ethiopia under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed, are yet to be felt in Eritrea.

"While proud of the region's capability to resolve intransigent conflicts at unprecedented speed, we are not complacent," Giorgio said. "Eritrea recognizes that a more difficult and complex task is waiting ahead. It is determined to redouble its own efforts and work closely with its neighbors to build a region at peace with itself."

Many Eritreans, have been celebrating the lift on social media, here's some of what people are saying.









Interview
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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