UN Report: UAE, Saudi Using Eritrean Land, Sea, Airspace and, Possibly, Eritrean Troops in Yemen Battle

Bab al-Mandab strait separates the Arabian Peninsula from the Horn of Africa and links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean

Bab-el-Mandab strait separates the Arabian Peninsula from the Horn of Africa and links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean (credit: UN SEMG)

Nov. 2, 2015 – The United Arab Emirates has leased a key Eritrean port for 30 years and along with its Gulf ally, Saudi Arabia, has established a military presence in Eritrea in return for monetary compensation and fuel supplies.

United Nations investigators have also received reports that 400 Eritrean troops are embedded with UAE forces battling Houthi rebels in Yemen. If confirmed, this would violate UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Eritrea.

The information is contained in the latest report of the UN Group of Experts monitoring sanctions against Somalia and Eritrea. They state that the military arrangement between the Gulf coalition and Eritrea was likely established in March or April this year.

The report, released late last week, says the Gulf alliance’s arrangement with Eritrea, which is located across the Red Sea from Yemen and at its narrowest point is just 29 kilometers from Yemen, came about after Djibouti rebuffed an approach by Saudi and UAE to use its soil in their military campaign against Houthi expansion in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted Eritrea's President saias Afwerki on April 28, 2015 (credit: Saudi Press Agency)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosted Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on April 28, 2015 (credit: Saudi Press Agency)

As part of the arrangement, Eritrea has allowed the Gulf alliance to use the Hanish islands and has leased the Port of Assab to the UAE for 30 years. The Bab-el-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Eritrea is a key route for Gulf oil shipments with an estimated 3.8 million barrels passing through on tankers daily.

The group of experts write that “Eritrea’s making available to third countries its land, territorial waters and airspace to conduct military operations in another country does not in and of itself constitute a violation of resolution 1907 (2009)” but “any compensation diverted directly or indirectly towards activities that threaten peace and security in the region or for the benefit of the Eritrean military would constitute a violation of” the resolution.

“Moreover, if the credible claims received by the Monitoring Group that Eritrean soldiers are indeed participating in the war effort under the leadership of the Arab coalition were confirmed, it would constitute a clear violation of resolution 1907 (2009),” the report states.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are not the only Gulf countries with a military presence in Eritrea. Qatar has 200 troops located on the country’s border with Djibouti. Doha is involved in mediating disputes between the two countries.

For its part, the Government of Eritrea has called on the Security Council to lift the arms embargo against it saying Eritrea’s strategic location makes it a target for extremists.

- Denis Fitzgerald

Related Stories:

A Ceasefire or Humanitarian Pause: What’s Happening in Yemen?

UN Yemen Appeal Only 15 percent Funded

Yemen’s Saleh Worth $60 Billion Says UN Sanctions Committee

Djibouti – The UN’s Forgotten Crisis

Related Documents:

Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, October 2015

UN Commission of Inquiry Report on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea

Security Council Resolution 1907 (2009)

  • Eritrean American

    Stop cooking up lies! Eritrea is way ahead of the game when it comes to laws and regulations and the sanctions have been proven to be NULL & Void as Eritrea had nothing to do with Al Shabab. You people attempt at trying to be expert on the horn and in the process create stories about ERITREA without going to the source. You literally diced the onions, added the spices and included the meat on this story as it has not been proven.

    • daniel

      well said, Eri-Am

    • Stefanos Temelso

      Eritrean American, you should have been ashamed to claim you live in America. Maybe that is a lie. The story is a fact and if you do not believe go and look for yourself. Since you are a tsooge of the regime it is natural ofr you to say so.

      • Huwey

        America the bringer of democracy. bomber of syria, iraq, somalia, afghanistan, supporter of Israel’s occupation of palestine. Like you can talk about ‘regimes’ and ‘democracy’ – you’re the most evil country on earth. You’re a stooge.

    • Whereisthejustice1

      Unfortunately its hard to accept facts. Facts are facts.
      The Saudi’s and the Emirates are very good at throwing their money around.

  • tes

    PFDJ regime is anti peace and is ready to do what he can to get money. This news is not an exception in the historical discourse.

  • Tsegai Haile

    Tsegai Eritrean American: Eritrea does not have a lawful governing regime, The compensation from leasing Assab will be diverted into further threatening and disturbing peace in the region in violation of resolution 1907.



  • Dani Paradizo

    This is shameless trolling by UN Tribune, simply regurgitating bold-faced, sick-minded lies on Eritrea. These morons have not even apologized for the “2000 Eritrean troops in Somalia” lie which was the basis for original 2009 UN sanctions report. They are now trying to justify the reason Eritrea is not a failed state by now (despite their relentless evil machinations) is b/c some Arab countries are coming to its rescue. Eritrea already published a press release saying it does not take sides on the Yemeni conflict & intervention (unlike the usual puppet, corrupt, enslaved countries it dies not sell itself to the highest bidder).

  • Wedi Punt

    “United Nations investigators have also received reports that 400 Eritrean troops are embedded with UAE forces battling Houthi rebels in Yemen.”
    -Who are the reports coming from? Where’s the proof? Alleged hearsayings are not proof.

  • DavidYeh

    Who is cooking this fabrication? What is the special interest? Until this very moment, not even a single allegation against Eritrea has been proven right. Beside Eritreans have every right to do what ever they want to do with their land. Its none of anybody’s business.

  • Jumbo

    More UN lies. The excuses for the sanctions have been proven false; sanctions need to be lifted now

  • Elias

    It is very scary,UN became a USA big pub, if they want close it they do at any time. If they want expel any body they do not like in the pub, they sanction him/her. Listen Mugabe and even The Ethiopian PM hailemariam complain about the structure of UN.Simply=USA and EU,nothing else, shame in 21st century. But I’m sure it will crack down in to pieces soon. It can not continue like that shame for almost 100 countries. Eritrea became a victim of this drama and USA used UN as a dole.

  • dabega

    What is the problem for the UNjust organization for the Suadis using Eritrean ports?

  • dabega

    The UNjust organization is responsible for all the world’s choas that is happening today?

  • dabega

    UN is an organization of lies, injustices, shame, gangs, terrorists.

  • isaac

    The report may be false. Hanish Islands are no more Eritrean, so that the Eritrean Gov’t could not allow or deny the use these Islands. But if the government allow the use of Assab, its water and air space, it may be good.

  • eusebio manuel

    Stop War in Syria

  • 2waypower

    Soo whats the problem?? America is the biggest importer of Saudi oil!! America has orchestrated deals like this to improve itself for decades now. They do not want Eritrea to be a positive example for other African countries. For instance Eritrea did not allow America to exploit its natural resources, so in turn lies were fabricated and sanctions were unjustly imposed; to bend the will power of it people. You have to realize the president was also a revolutionary fighter and wants Eritrea to thrive just as much as you. It sure as hell isn’t easy being the only guiding light of African prosperity. #staystrongERI

  • kufon Arustonioius

    SO what! what about US using ……. to fight A….. ……..

  • kufon Arustonioius

    Eritrea is playing game theory, I started to appreciate how their leadership use a very pragmatic move to keep the national interest of the state, what we need to see here is how the Eritrean leadership is in deed far sighted