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Goff Announces Sanctions Against African Hotspots

New Zealand will follow the United Nations in imposing selective sanctions against Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, because of the precarious humanitarian and security situation those countries face, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff announced today.

The United Nations Security Council’s decision against Ethiopia and Eritrea to impose an arms and technical assistance embargo, follows concern at the adverse humanitarian and security implications during those countries’ two year border dispute.

The decision to impose a partial ban in the Sierra Leone rough diamonds trade was taken following concern at the role the illicit diamond trade played in fuelling the country’s nine-year conflict, and at reports that such diamonds transit its neighbouring countries. Sierra Leone rebels are already under an arms embargo.

“We are appalled at the grave human rights abuses being perpetrated in the countries concerned. The world must speak out when human rights are being flagrantly violated,” Mr Goff said.

“While there have been developments in those countries since the resolutions were adopted, the Security Council’s decision, with which we are bound to comply, is an appropriate measure to take."

Mr Goff said New Zealand's trade with all three countries is minimal.

ENDS

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