A policy advisor for the Center for American Progress’s Enough Project in Washington, D.C. told Tewolde of the VOA’s Tigrigna service that the Bush administration should not list Eritrea as a state sponsor of terrorism during his remaining days in the White House.
Collins Thomas-Jensen said the departing President George Bush should not make a “strategically significant determination” on Somalia and the region that would tie the hands of the incoming Barack Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts.
The Enough Project opposes further U.N. and U.S. intervention in Somalia and efforts to place Eritrea on the State Department’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
"The move to place Eritrea on State's State Sponsors of Terrorism list is ill-conceived,” he said, because “the Bush administration is basically a lame duck administration right now to be making this sort of big policy decision.” He also called such a move bad politics and bad policy, “because we believe that there are signs that the Eritrean government wants to reopen its doors to re-engagement with the United States and that the Obama administration has an opportunity in Asmara to negotiate with Isaias on issues of mutual concern."
Eritrea has provided haven for a variety of rebel groups, some of which have supported forces trying to defeat the U.S.- and U.N.-supported Federal Transitional Government in Mogadishu. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria are on the list now and are subject to a variety of U.S. actions including a ban on arms-related exports and sales, prohibitions of economic assistance and opposition to World Bank loans.
Thomas-Jensen corroborated reports that the African
Bureau of the State Department is pushing to place Eritrea in the list. “I have had it confirmed to me personally by
several senior officials ranging from the Defense Department and State
Departments to USAID. All of them have
told me that the African Bureau is pushing hard for this.”