Gathered in closed consultations on 24 July 2012 to examine the situation in Somalia, the Security Council also mentioned the role of Eritrea in the region. Even if the support of Eritrea to the Shabaab in Somalia had decreased and thus constituted an important step further for the stabilization of this country, Eritrea continued to strike a blow to the regional and international stability: support to the Ethiopian opposition groups; violations of the arm embargo; extension of operations of arms, munitions and human trafficking to Sinai.
The complete timeline of events here.
Djibouti and Eritrea have a longstanding border dispute in the region of Ras Doumeira, where the border—established by a France-Ethiopian convention of 1897 and subsequent protocols between France and Italy in 1900 and 1901—has never been delineated. Tensions broke out in the 1990s.
In May 2008, Djibouti referred the situation to the Security Council and various regional organizations (the AU, the Arab League), denouncing the strengthening of Eritrea’s military capacities and the occupation of territories belonging to Djibouti.
The Djiboutian and Eritrean armies had been engaged in a showdown for two months when, on 10 June 2008, violent fighting sparked by an Eritrean attack led to the death of several dozen soldiers from both countries. On 12 June, the Security Council presidency—held by the United States at the time—condemned the “military action” conducted by Eritrea and called on both parties to withdraw their forces to the status quo ante and work cooperatively to resolve the dispute by diplomatic means. On 24 June, the Security Council reiterated its call for restraint and dialogue in a statement to the press issued by the body’s president, who also asked the secretary-general to send a fact-finding mission to the region.
However, no fact-finding mission has obtained authorization from Eritrea to visit territory under its control. Djibouti withdrew its troops to the status quo ante, while Eritrea has not done so.
France has held numerous discussions with both parties and has worked closely with the Security Council presidency to draft and adopt statements. On the ground, France has deployed considerable military means in support of Djibouti; it has made an additional medical team available to the Bouffard hospital to treat Djiboutian wounded, evacuated wounded from the front, and stationed about 100 men in Moulhoulé to provide logistical support and air and satellite reconnaissance as part of our bilateral agreements with that country.
Resolution 1872, adopted on 14 January 2009, urges Djibouti and Eritrea to resolve their border dispute peacefully and in accordance with international law, welcomes Djibouti’s withdrawal of forces to the status quo ante, demands that Eritrea withdraw its forces and materiel to the status quo ante and ensure there is no military presence or activity in the region where the conflict took place in Ras Doumeira and Doumeira island in June 2008, that it agree to resolve the dispute through dialogue, and notably that it cooperate fully with the UN secretary-general’s good offices.
A demarche in April 2009 by the President of the Security Council to the Permanent Representative of Eritrea at the UN to have Eritrea comply with resolution 1862 did not yield results.
In these circumstances, on 23 December 2009, the Security Council adopted resolution 1907 which establishes sanctions against Eritrea because of its actions both vis-à-vis Somalia and Djibouti. Eritrea has indeed not fulfilled any of its obligations under resolution 1862 (2008).
Resolution 1907 establishes both an arms embargo and individual sanctions (asset freeze and travel bans). While the arms embargo goes into effect immediately, the list of names of persons and entities sanctioned will be established by the Sanctions Committee established by resolution 751, whose powers are extended, as well as those of the control group.
Resolution 1907 was adopted by 13 votes in favor, one against (Libya) and one abstention (China).
19 May 2010 - Security Council - Peace and security in Africa - The situation in the Horn of Africa - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
More French statements here.
5 December 2011 - Resolution 2023 - Strengthening of the sanctions regime against Eritrea
11 June 2010 - Security Council - Press statement
23 December 2009 - Resolution 1907 - Sanctions against Eritrea
14 January 2009 - Resolution 1862 - Border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea
25 June 2008 - Security Council - Press statement
12 June 2008 - Security Council - Press statement