ADDIS ABABA, Jul 7 – Eritrea on Saturday denounced as unfounded US sanctions imposed on two Eritrean government officials accused of links to al-Qaeda affiliated Somali rebels.
They had been targeted “not because there is a shred of truth or material evidence to the false accusations heaped upon them” but because the US wanted to give the impression it was tightening its sanctions, said a statement.
The United Nations had failed to establish the truth of the allegations, the foreign ministry statement added, describing the imposition of sanctions a “sinister ploy.”
On Thursday, the US imposed sanctions on six alleged backers of the Shebab rebels in Somalia, including Eritrean military officials Tewolde Habte Negash and Taeme Abraham Goitom.
They froze US-based assets of the six, and forbade any US business or individual from having dealings with them.
The sanctions were aimed at helping halt the conflict in Somalia and helping dismantle the Shabaab, said the US Treasury.
But the Eritrean statement denounced what it said were “hostile acts”.
They were, it said, “part and parcel of the persistent policy of the United States to destabilize Eritrea and undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity in pursuit of misguided regional objectives.”
Asmara called on other countries to lobby against the inappropriate actions by the US and the UN against Eritrea.
A UN report last year accused the increasingly isolated Horn of Africa country of funding Shebab rebels in Somalia and gave details of what it said was a failed bomb plot on the African Union in Addis Ababa.