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UNSC unanimously votes to lift Eritrea sanctions

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (left to right). (Photo: AFP)
The UN Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to lift sanctions against Eritrea, rewarding the embattled East African nation for recent efforts to establish peaceful relations with its Horn of Africa neighbors.

The UN vote is the latest development in the thawing of tense relations between Eritrea its three neighbors to the south — Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

The UN imposed sanctions on Eritrea in 2009, accusing the Eritrean government of supplying arms to the al-Shabab terror organization operating in Somalia and for failing to resolve border conflicts with Djbouti.

The 2009 Security Council resolution accused Eritrea of "providing support to the armed groups engaged in destabilization activities in Somalia."

British Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce said the newly-adopted resolution recognized the improvements in regional “peace and security.”

“Not only is it a very important step for the countries in the region, I think it sends a helpful wider signal to the international community that if the right steps are taken, sanctions can be lifted,” she added.