Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, after the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2023, December 5, 2011
Thank you, Mr. President
The United States welcomes the Council's decision to impose new sanctions on Eritrea. Today we have sent a clear message to the Government of Eritrea that it must cease all illegal actions threatening international peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
As we adopt this resolution, we should recall the events that led us to this decision. Exactly two years ago this month, the Council adopted Resolution 1907 in response to a disturbing pattern of behavior: Eritrea was not engaging constructively in resolving its border dispute with Djibouti, and, most alarmingly, it was providing political, financial and logistical support to armed groups seeking to undermine peace in Somalia.
The Council imposed targeted sanctions on Eritrea to demonstrate that Eritrea's actions were unacceptable and would have negative consequences.
Mr. President, that was two years ago. What has happened since? As we heard again this morning, we have continually received evidence of Eritrean support for extremist groups in the region. Eritrea still has not resolved its border dispute with Djibouti.
The UN's Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group has documented Eritrea's support for terrorism, including an appalling, planned attack on the January 2011 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
According to the monitoring group, Eritrea is financing all of these activities through illicit means, including threats and the extortion of a "diaspora tax" from people of Eritrean descent living overseas.
In direct response, this Council has today imposed tougher sanctions. Our goal is to show Eritrea that it will pay an ever higher price for its actions. Building on Resolution 1907, this resolution imposes new obligations on Eritrea, including to cease illicit practices to extort funds from its diaspora.
We particularly welcome the Council's expression of concern over the potential use of mining revenues to fund violations of Security Council resolutions. The United States will work with Somalia, the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, and the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee to develop voluntary guidelines for companies from the United States and other Member States.
Such guidelines can provide useful advice, best practices and information to help companies protect themselves from inadvertently contributing to Eritrea's violations. We intend to draw on this work in advising our own companies.
In addition to the obligations set forth in this and previous UN resolutions, today's resolution, 2023, provides further opportunities for Eritrea to show its good faith, including through releasing information on the status of Djiboutian combatants missing in action since June 2008.
Eritrea must cease all direct and indirect efforts to destabilize States, particularly through support for armed opposition and terrorist groups, and it should cooperate fully with the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group.
Mr. President, we hope this tightening of sanctions will finally convince the Government of Eritrea to reorder its priorities. The United States believes that the international community's concerns can and should be resolved through political engagement and dialogue.
But Eritrea must clearly and affirmatively prove not through its words but through its actions that it is ready to reemerge as a law-abiding state. Until that time, the Council and UN Member States are committed to enforcing robustly the sanctions we have applied.
We hope that Eritrea does not squander this second chance to change course.
Thank you, Mr. President.