By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The UN Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to lift international sanctions on Eritrea following a historic peace accord with Ethiopia.
Targeted sanctions, asset freezes and a travel ban on senior officials, as well as an arms embargo, were imposed beginning in 2009 as part of Security Council resolution 1907, which cited Eritrea's alleged support for al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and the country's refusal to settle a border dispute with Djibouti. Asmara denied supporting al-Shabaab.
The penalties were strengthened in 2011 amid Eritrea's continued intransigence, and “its actions undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa region. ”
All were lifted as a result of the council's action.
The council's decision to lift the penalties was prompted by a warming in regional ties in the Horn of Africa, highlighted by Ethiopia and Eritrea's signing in September of a peace agreement that fully restored ties between the neighbors.
Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993, and from 1998 to 2000 the two countries fought a bloody war in which an estimated thousands perished.
Eritrea's ties with Djibouti are also warming following years of contention over their shared land border.
*Betul Yuruk contributed to this report from the United Nations