Home » News » Peer accuses UK of aiding Eritrean government
Peer accuses UK of aiding Eritrean government
BBC | January 30, 2013
Labour peer and former Foreign Office minister Baroness Kinnock has demanded an explanation of why the UK "facilitated meetings between the Eritrean government and a range of mining and investment companies".
Lady Kinnock wanted to know if the government had been helping an administration she called "one of the most secretive and repressive regimes in the whole world".
Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi admitted such a meeting was "not something I'm aware of" and said Lady Kinnock was "more well-informed than I am on this issue" but promised to write to her.
The issue was first raised at questions on 30 January 2013 by Lib Dem Lord Chidgey, vice-chair of the all-party group on Africa.
Lord Chidgey said the appointment of Ethiopia's new prime minister as chair of the African Union represented "shifting political ground" and an opportunity to "unlock the security stalemate" between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Bishop of Wakefield added it was a chance to "reset and promote regional reforms".
Lady Warsi told peers the situation in Mali and Algeria "shows the importance of stable government" and stressed that Eritrea and Ethiopia "should continue to speak".
There is a fragile peace in the one-party state of Eritrea following decades of fighting with Ethiopia and Yemen.
In late January, state television was temporarily taken off air when dissident soldiers reportedly stormed the ministry of information, calling for the implementation of the country's 1997 constitution.
The Eritrean ambassador to South Africa told news agencies there was no sign of a coup.
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State of Eritrea ሃገረ ኤርትራ Hagere Ertra دولة إرتريا
Anthem: Ertra, Ertra, Ertra Eritrea, Eritrea, Eritrea
Capital (and largest city) Asmara
15°20′N 38°55′E / 15.333°N 38.917°E / 15.333; 38.917
Official language(s) Tigrinya, Arabic, English Other languages Tigre, Saho, Bilen, Afar, Kunama, Nara, Hedareb,.
Ethnic groups 60% Tigrinya, 30% Tigre, 4% Afar, 3% Saho, 3% Kunama
Demonym Eritrean Government Provisional government
- President Isaias Afewerki
- From Italy November 1941
- From United Kingdom under UN Mandate 1951
- from Ethiopia de facto 24 May 1991
- From Ethiopia de jure 24 May 1993
- Total 117,600 km2 (100th)
45,405 sq mi - Water (%) 0.14%
- 2009 estimate 5,224,000 (109th)
- 2008 census 5,291,370
- Density 43.1/km2 (165th)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.625 billion
- Per capita $681
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $2.117 billion
- Per capita $397
HDI (2007) steady 0.472 (low) (165th)
Currency Nakfa (ERN)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code ER
Internet TLD .er
Calling code 291
1 ,. National TV: Eritrea Television (ERI-TV)
Eritrea (play /ˌɛrɨˈtreɪ.ə/ or /ˌɛrɨˈtriːə/; Ge'ez: ኤርትራ ʾErtrā, Arabic: إرتريا Iritrīyā), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeast and east of the country has an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea. Eritrea's size is approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi) with an estimated population of 6 million...