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ICC NOTE: Eritrea , in further attempts to isolate themselves, ordered two international aid agencies to leave the country, bringing the number to at least eleven expelled this year.

Eritrea expels more aid agencies

Middle East Times

November 6, 2006

ASMARA — Eritrea said Monday that it has ordered two more international aid agencies to leave the country, bringing to at least 11 the number of such groups expelled this year.

Asmara said that the services of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Samaritan’s Purse, both of which use Eritrea as a base for operations in eastern Sudan , were no longer needed.

Information minister Ali Abdu said that since the signing of an Eritrean-mediated peace agreement between Khartoum and eastern rebels, the two nongovernmental organizations (NGOS) had become redundant.

“These two NGOs were allowed for cross-border operations,” he said. “Since there is now an agreement between the government of Sudan and the Eastern Front, signed here in Asmara , there is no need for such work.

“They were asked to terminate their operation, because when there is a conducive atmosphere in that place, you don’t need to create such cross-border operations,” Ali Abdu said. “We are grateful for what they did but since there is no need … we kindly ask them to stop.”

The two groups were given letters last week informing them that their work and operations permits would not be extended past their November 15 expiration, officials said.

Samaritan’s Purse is a US evangelical Christian organization “providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.”

IRC, whose headquarters is also in the United States , runs projects including improving water and sanitation in East Sudan from its Asmara office.

They join a long list of NGOs who have been asked to leave the Horn of Africa country over the past 18 months.