UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The Security Council is discussing the possible removal of sanctions against Eritrea given the latest positive developments in the Horn of Africa, said Swedish ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of July.
"That issue is being discussed," Skoog told reporters after closed-door Security Council consultations on Eritrea and Somalia.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement that Eritrea and Somalia would work together to foster regional peace and stability. The council members reiterated their readiness to support the region in these efforts, said Skoog.
Asked whether the council actually discussed the possible removal of sanctions against Eritrea, Skoog said: "That issue is being discussed. As I said in my statement on behalf of council members that there is readiness to support the region in these efforts. I think you should understand with that that there is readiness to move forward on that issue as well."
Ethiopia requested the lifting of UN Security Council sanctions on Eritrea after the two countries signed a historic Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship on July 9 and agreed to normalize relations. Ethiopia has also offered to help Eritrea and Djibouti to resolve their border dispute and to normalize their relations as well.
The Security Council supports and encourages Ethiopia's efforts in this regard, said Skoog.
Earlier on Monday, before Security Council deliberations, Skoog expressed the hope that the Security Council could decide on Eritrea sanctions as soon as possible.
What is happening in the Horn of Africa is truly historic, he told reporters. "It is very important that we support those historically positive developments in any way we can."
"The Swedish point of view is that we need to be cautious not to set targets and benchmarks that hinder the current positive momentum, and instead really ensure that we allow Eritrea now to partake in the international arena and let peoples in the region enjoy the peace dividends. We believe that the council should seize this moment to firmly recognize peace and normalize the relations between the international community and Eritrea by deciding to review the sanctions regime as soon as possible."
The Security Council imposed sanctions in 2009 on Eritrea, including an arms embargo, for its destabilizing role in neighboring countries, particularly its alleged support for al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and its territorial dispute with Djibouti.
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and the two countries fought a war between 1998 and 2000. Although a peace agreement was singed in December 2000, tensions continued. The July 9 Joint Declaration officially put an end to war between the two long-time rivals.
The Security Council members on Monday strongly commended the historic signing of the Joint Declaration and the two countries' joint endeavor to ensure regional peace, development and cooperation, said Skoog.