According to countryaah, Eritrea made no effort during the year to clean itself of the stamp as one of the world’s pari states with few, if any, friends. In January, the UN Security Council gave the country five weeks to withdraw soldiers from a disputed area against the border with Djibouti, where clashes took place in June 2008. However, Eritrea did not heed the call, and in September Djibouti again appealed to the Security Council to intervene. to resolve the conflict. In December, the Security Council punished Eritrea for the regime’s support for Islamist rebel groups in Somalia. The sanctions included arms embargo, a travel ban for a number of senior executives and frozen bank accounts.
The initiative for the resolution was taken by the African Union (AU), which for the first time advocated international intervention against a member country. Eritrea denied support for the Islamists and canceled their membership in the AU. However, Eritrea agreed to pay $ 10 million to Ethiopia as compensation for damages sustained by the neighboring country during the 1998-2000 war. The Ethiopian reaction was that the damages could not compensate Eritrea’s support for Ethiopian separatist groups and Somali Islamists.
The United States-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch described the country as a gigantic prison, where people are arrested for no apparent reason and where military service has been extended indefinitely. Those summoned are not notified when they are allowed to return to civilian life. The Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who along with a number of colleagues were arrested in 2001 for regime-critical newspaper articles, remained imprisoned. President Isaias Afwerki said in a Swedish TV interview that there were no plans to release him.