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US says Eritrea not designated as state sponsor of terrorism.

December 14, 2008 (WASHINGTON) a" After the Eritrean Foreign Ministry speculated last week that certain US officials are attempting to label Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism, the US State Department affirmed that the country is still not considered as such. Presently the United States considers Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. This label restricts US foreign assistance, bans US arms exports and sales, controls certain exports and imposes miscellaneous financial restrictions. The Eritrean Foreign Ministry stated last week that allegations against it are "preposterous in the extreme." In response to an inquiry as to whether discussions are ongoing to designate Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism, a State Department spokesman told Sudan Tribune, "Eritrea is designated as not fully cooperating." He did not specify where cooperation was lacking and would only add, "the Department of State does not discuss possible countries under review." At issue is Eritrea's position on Somalia, it appears from the Eritrean statement. Eritrea and the United States have backed opposite sides in the war in Somalia, which erupted at the end of 2006. In August last year, Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said that US officials were compiling evidence of Eritrean backing to Somali extremists, saying, "Frankly, the information so far that we've collected is fairly convincing about their activities, in terms of State Sponsor, in Eritrea and in Somalia." However, another U.S. spokesperson made clear on Friday that the U.S. does not consider as viable the proposed interim multinational force in Somalia. Eritrean support for the Asmara-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia has soured relations with U.S. officials. This group seeks to topple the Transitional Federal Government, which moved into power in Somalia in the wake of a U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in late2006. Since then various insurgents have taken back control of most of the country. These groups include different Shabab militias, one of which the U.S. declared to be a terrorist organization. Senior UN officials have called the situation in Somalia the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Dec 18, 2008
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