Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced Wednesday the Ethiopian forces, which crushed the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia last month along with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), would be leaving the country in three phases.
Meles said he expected the deployment of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) before the end of the third phase withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces.
He told a press conference that the Ethiopian forces began withdrawing from Somalia as of Tuesday.
Meles said the victory of the Ethiopian defense forces over the extremist group in Somalia without casualties on civilians showed the military capability and heroism of the defense forces.
He said the withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces from the capital Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia would successfully be completed in the coming few weeks.
Ethiopia started withdrawing its troops as the TFG forces began stabilizing the country, Meles said.
Meles said warlords and their militias have become part of the army of the TFG through peaceful ways after handing over their armaments.
The TFG in collaboration with the people of Somalia has already shouldered the responsibility of ensuring peace and stability in Somalia, he said.
According to Meles, the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops would be executed as per the schedule irrespective of the deployment of AMISOM.
AMISOM is to take over from the Ethiopian forces, which were sent to Somalia last month to drive out the UIC. The UIC had taken control of much of central and southern Somalia over the past six months, before being routed from the capital Mogadishu and driven south.
So far only Uganda and Malawi have pledged to contribute to the AU force. Other countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa are considering possible contributions
EU hinges assistance to Somalia on open dialogue
Brussels, Belgium, 01/24 - The European Union says its assistance to the African force in Somalia will depend on the progress achieved in political dialogue, according to a decision taken by the 27 foreign ministers Monday in Brussels.
In a final statement from their meeting, the European foreign ministers urged all the parties involved in the current Somali armed conflict to make the best of the current move to reach a viable political accord.
Louis Michel, the European Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid, made it very clear that funding for the stabilisation force would depend on the opening of a dialogue among all protagonists in Somalia.
Louis Michel considers that the Somali Transition Federal Government did not show any political willingness and real commitment for reconciliation and openness.
He cited the destitution of the Speaker of the Somali transition parliament, Sharif Hassan Cheikh Aden, as well as the passing of a martial law and the various pressures on the free media to back his accusation.
While a stabilisation force may lead to the Ethiopian forces pulling out, Louis Michel said the coalition government should deliver a powerful message of reconciliation and dialogue.
According to a European Spokesperson, the European Union is ready to allocate 15 million euros to fund the future AU mission in Somalia.
Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity (NSPU)- P R E S S R E L E A S E
Hargeisa Secessionists Desecrate Somali National Flag
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007
The Northern Somalis for Peace and Unity (NSPU) strongly condemns the recent, despicable act of desecration in which Hargeisa-based secessionists burned the Somali national flag. Ironically, the ingrates burned Bluuglay at the very site where it was hoisted for the first time on the first parcel of Somali soil that was decolonized. It is a sad commentary that the mutinous secessionists would go out of their way to insult all Somalis, irrespective of home region or place of residence, in this way. It is also a shameful affront to the memories of our forefathers who struggled and paid a high price for the realization of this, most memorable event of independence on June 26, 1960.
NSPU also categorically rejects the dishonest, mob-like demonstrations in Hargeisa that the secessionists orchestrated in that city some days ago for the sole purpose of deceiving the international community into thinking that northern Somalis would want to secede from the rest of the country. Nothing is further from the truth. A plurality of the Somali people in the northern regions are unalterably opposed to the often repeated fabrication by the secessionists that there is a separate entity called “Somaliland”; when in fact three (3) out of the five (5) northern regions in the former British Somaliland Protectorate are against secession and are solidly in the pro-Union camp.
To prove this point, on the same day the secessionists organized their pathetic demonstration in their enclave, large counter demonstrations were held in the cities of Badhan and Hadaaftimo in the Sanaag region. Huge pro national unity demonstrations similarly sprang spontaneously in Las Anod, the regional capital of Sool and in Buuhoodle District of the Cayn region. Meanwhile, residents of the Awdal region, in the far northwest, have simply refused to buckle under pressure and join demonstrations orchestrated by absentee secessionist politicians who came to the region to foment rebellion.
All these point to the illegitimacy and bankruptcy of the clan-driven, blind quest to secede the northern regions of Somalia from the rest of the country. But the secessionists had never, in more than dozen years, let facts or reason get in the way of their chasing of what is patently a hopeless pipedream; namely, to revive a long-dead colonial entity (British Somaliland Protectorate) and use it as a tool to dismember Somalia and establish a one-clan hegemony over the other Somali clans of the north.
Yet, the secessionists persist in trotting on that fruitless path without any prospect of ever realizing their subversive project. Characteristically, they never miss an opportunity to spew and hurl hate-filled invectives against other fellow Somalis, especially their brothers and sisters in the southern regions.
On this particular occasion, unalloyed fear about the current, realistic prospect of Somalis succeeding, at long last, to once again reconstitute the central authority of the country has gripped and traumatized the secessionists. After all, their whole strategy for separation and secession was predicated on the assumption that anarchy and lawlessness will continue to plague the south, particularly the capital city of Mogadishu and its vicinity. Thus, in an apparent state of panic, they threw out all pretences to civility and decorum to the wind and proceeded to wantonly desecrate the much-loved symbol of Somali unity—the beautiful national flag.
This disgraceful act of delinquency bordering on sedition was orchestrated by rabble-rousing politicians, led by none other than Faisal Ali Waraabe (Faisal the Hyena). Mr. Waraabe and the other reprobates of his ilk have proved, beyond doubt, that they would stop at nothing to incite their already agitated constituency to rebellion. And, for what purpose, one might ask? For what purpose, indeed! Since, hell will freeze over before the secessionist miscreants get their way!
It is quite befitting that most of the intransigent, narrow-minded Hargeisa politicians, who campaign to dismember the Somali Republic hold foreign Passports. Their unreasonableness is a function of the options that they have, which are not available to their often misled and frequently propagandized constituency. That is, to catch the next plane to such foreign capitals as London, Helsinki, Sydney, Stockholm, etc., after it becomes apparent to them all that their ill-fated obsession with secession is doomed to failure.
When that day comes, (as surely it will) the likes of Mr. Waraabe would have no qualms about leaving for distant shores with the poor local citizens holding the bag! So, brothers and sisters of northwestern Somalia, beware of those who will tell you that they are going abroad to seek “recognition” for ‘Somaliland’. They are either going abroad to stash the thousands of dollars they stole from your meager resources or to indulge in their yearly routine of returning to their foreign residences, and lament all the mistakes they made over the years in their goofy “jihads” against their fellow Somalis.
Long live Somalia: United, Peaceful, and Prosperous!
For further information, please contact: Gamal Hassan
Director, Communication & Public Relations Unit
NORTHERN SOMALIS FOR PEACE & UNITY (NSPU)
5470 Merivale Rd. Ottawa, Ontario. K2C 3M1 Canada
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.somaliunity.org
NORTHERN SOMALIS FOR PEACE & UNITY (NSPU) is a grass-roots Somali advocacy organization with Branches in Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, USA, UK, Sweden, and South Africa. We are dedicated to the promotion of peace and unity among the long suffering people of Somalia. We believe the ‘Somalia problem’ can only be dealt with within the framework of a holistic strategic approach aimed at the empowerment of a central government to rebuild national democratic governance institutions and restore law and order throughout the country. NSPU believes the balkanization of Somalia is a recipe for future conflicts and a bleak future for the Somali people, who are bonded by ethnicity, language, religion, and shared centuries-old culture and traditions.