UNITED NATIONS - Eritrea has asked the UN Security Council to lift sanctions against it after a recent UN experts' report showed that the tiny east African state had cut its support for the al-Qaida-allied al Shabaab militant group in Somalia.

But in a letter released on Monday, Eritrea also slammed the report - which probes violations of arms embargoes on Eritrea and Somalia - for "falsely accusing the government of Eritrea for violations that are not substantiated with solid evidence."

The Security Council imposed an embargo on Eritrea in 2009 over concerns its government was funding and arming al Shabaab - charges Asmara denied. The UN experts' report released in July said that support has evaporated.

Eritrea responded in the letter to the 15-member council, dated Sept. 27, saying sanctions should be removed as "the initial and principal accusation concerning Eritrean support to al Shabaab has now proven to be non-existent."

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