Thursday, November 10, 2011

News: Kenya warns Eritrea over the supply of arms to al Shabaab

The Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya, Beyene Russom, was on the 4th November summoned to the Foreign Affairs Ministry over reports that Asmara was arming al Shabaab rebels battling the Kenyan military in Somalia. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Moses Wetang'ula, summoned Mr Russom and delivered a strongly worded protest that Nairobi will view the arming of al Shabaab by Asmara in a very serious light. The minister later told journalists that Kenya was considering all options, "including reviewing diplomatic ties", a euphemism for severing links with Eritrea. The move follows reports on Tuesday that three planes loaded with weapons for the militia landed in Baidoa, an al Shabaab stronghold. Reports said the arms came from Eritrea, but Asmara vehemently denied it. The meeting at the foreign ministry offices was attended by Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Thuita Mwangi and Political and Diplomatic Affairs Secretary, Patrick Wamoto. "We are open-minded. In a relationship you can never say never to any issue," Mr Wetang'ula told the press. Mr Russom did not attend the press briefing. "The Ambassador has delivered letters to me from the Eritrean Foreign Minister who says he wants to come and talk to us next week," he said. "If we get unsatisfactory explanations and answers, then we move to level two," said Mr Wetang'ula, dropping the "reviewing diplomatic ties" hint. Kenya, IGAD and the Africa Union, would also support enhanced sanctions against Eritrea, which has been accused of destabilising the region the minister added. The UN Security Council is considering imposing additional sanctions. The draft resolution was circulated by Gabon on Friday the 14th October and is co-sponsored by Nigeria.