Baird Announces Canada’s Decision to Expel Eritrean Diplomat

Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, made a bold announcement on Wednesday declaring that Canada has decided to expel Eritrea’s consul general in Toronto. Foreign Affiars department mentioned in a press release that “Canada has taken steps to expel (declare persona non grata) Mr. Semere Ghebremariam O. Micael, consul and head of the Eritrean Consulate General in Toronto, effective immediately.” It further added that “Mr. O. Micael must leave Canada no later than noon Eastern time on June 5, 2013.”

The announcement has come at a crucial time when more and more allegations were elevating in the Eritrean community in Toronto, asserting that O. Micael is misusing his position to raise funds for the Eritrean military, demanding that Canadian expatriates must offer “contributions” to help the country fund its war against Ethiopia. An analyst reported “that is not allowed under international sanctions, because the Eritrean military is believed to have links to African al Qaeda affiliate.” It was highlighted that The United Nations has already imposed sanctions in 2009, and again in 2011, demanding Eritrea to “cease using threats of violence, fraud and other illicit means to collect taxes outside of Eritrea.”

It is notable that Toronto consulate had already received several warnings from The Department of Foreign Affairs, warning it to end fundraising activities and to respect international sanctions and Canadian law. Baird now mentioned in a statement that “today’s actions speak for themselves.” The department stated that “The Eritrean government is welcome to propose another candidate to represent it in Canada, but that person must be prepared to play by the rules.” It further warned that “our resolve on this matter should not be further tested.”

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