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US, France must quickly lift UN sanctions on Eritrea – Ex-US diplomat

The United States and France in their own investment interest must act fast to support the lifting of sanctions on Eritrea, this is the view of a former US diplomat.

Herman Cohen stressed that the need for both countries “or they will lose out on good investment opportunities in the Red Sea nation.”

Cohen situated his views within the context of Eritrea’s recent diplomatic dealings with Russia. The country’s Foreign Affairs chief led a delegation to Russia where he met and held talks with his counterpart.

Russia has since announced that it was set to invest in an Eritrean port – by way of a logistics facility. The two diplomats also discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interest.

Eritrea has since 2009 been under a U.N. Security Council arms embargo because of its alleged support for al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia. They have repeatedly called for the U.N. to lift the “useless and unjustified” sanctions.

The government recently signed a peace deal with Ethiopia after decades of ‘no peace – no war’ standoff. President Isaias Afwerki and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed signed a peace deal in July 2018 ending the ‘war footing.’

  • The population stands at about 5.8 million (July 2016 estimates)
  • The land area measures about 117,400 square kilometers.
  • Official languages are Tigrinya, Arabic and English.
  • Major religions are Islam and Christianity
  • The national currency is known as the Nakfa.


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