Urgent question: British nationals in Eritrea

Diplomats have been refused access to four British men detained in Eritrea since they were arrested four months ago, MPs have heard.

On 5 April 2011, in response to an urgent question tabled by Conservative backbencher Ian Liddell-Grainger, Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham said it was “deeply troubling” that consular access was not being granted to the men, despite repeated requests.

If access continued to be refused the government would consider taking “a more robust approach” with the east African state, he said.

The minister said he had summoned the Eritrean ambassador to the Foreign Office “for an interview without coffee” to stress the importance of consular access.

Mr Bellingham said that the government took Eritrea’s “non-compliance” with the Vienna convention on consular relations “very seriously”.

“We have changed our travel advice to Eritrea to specifically highlight the difficulty we are having in securing consular access and being able to provide general consular services,” he added.

source : bbc

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