At UN, US Rice Pushes Vote on Eritrea Sanctions, Russia Says No, S. Africa Amends


By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 30, updated below — After a draft resolution to impose more UN Security Council sanctions on Eritrea was "put in blue" at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, the Council delayed a planned 10 am open debate on its Working Methods to fight behind closed doors about voting on the sanctions.

As Inner City Press exclusively reported Tuesday night, US Ambassador Susan Rice said the vote should take place Wednesday since Gabon, Nigeria and the regional IGAD group want the sanctions.

But the other African member of the Council, South Africa, questioned the rush to vote. Eritrean president Afwerki as asked to speak to the Council. Ambassador Rice put on a block, and as of now no other member has ("dared to") call for a procedural vote, which it is predicted Rice would lose.

(c) UN Photo
Rice and the 14, Eritrea vote not yet shown

Most Council members spoken to by Inner City Press feel that if any head of state wants to speak with the Council, especially before sanctions are imposed, it should be allowed as a matter of due process and precedent.

On Wednesday morning sources told Inner City Press that Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said there should be no vote on the Eritrea draft today. South Africa has amendments. Experts will meet — but will Rice get her way? 

Update of 11:10 am: Inner City Press is told that Russia's Churkin told Susan Rice, if you put it to a vote today, it won't pass.