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Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles hold talks with Somalia President

 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ENA)Prime Minister Meles Zenawi held talks with President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Abdullahi Yousuf Ahmed on Saturday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Seyoum Mesfin told journalists that the two sides have held discussions on the current political and military situation in Somalia.

Seyoum said the demolition of the extremist forces in Somalia shows the liquidation of the terrorist danger that had been threatening Somalia, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region as a whole.

Though it is not time to say the terrorist group would not commit any damages in the future, it is possible to say that the danger posed by the terrorist forces on Ethiopia has been eliminated, he said.

Seyoum also indicated that the two leaders noted that Somalia, which was stateless for the past 16 years, has now entered the path to peace and stability, and added that the two sides have exchanged views on activities due to be carried out in the future.

President Abdullahi Yousuf Ahmed on the occasion indicated that he would attach due emphasis on ways of ensuring peace and stability in that country through bringing about consensus among and accommodating various political powers in Somalia.

The President also indicated his readiness to carry out activities aimed at forming a strong central government with the participation of the Somali people.

Prime Minister Meles on his part said the Ethiopian government would provide the necessary assistance for the realization of targets set by the Somalian TFG.

Meles also told the President that Ethiopia would support the efforts of the TFG aimed at bringing about peace and stability through establishing security, defense and police force that involves all sections in Somalia.

As Ethiopian defense forces are winding up their mission in Somalia, the two sides have agreed to jointly appeal for the deployment of African peacekeeping force in a bid to avoid possible security vacuum.

The discussion between the two leaders was effective and conducted with mutual understanding, the Minister said.

US’s Frazer meets with Yemen, Djiboutian presidents on Somalia

The top U.S. diplomat to Africa met on Saturday with the presidents of Yemen and Djibouti to boost efforts to stabilize Somalia, which has known only anarchy and violence for 15 years.

Jendayi Frazer, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Africa, flew on Saturday to Yemen and Djibouti, countries that are influential with all Somali leaders. A day earlier, U.S., E.U., African and Arab diplomats met to explore ways of helping Somalia’s two-year-old transitional government becoming effective in the conflict-ridden Horn of Africa nation.

Ethiopian troops intervened in Somalia on Dec. 24 to defeat an Islamic movement that threatened to overthrow the country’s internationally recognized government, which at the time only controlled one town.

Now Ethiopia says it wants to withdraw its troops within weeks. Many fear the government will be unable to operate without some outside military muscle.

The international community is scrambling to find a way to help Somalia, which has a chance at unity after 15 years of clan rule and chaos.

At the Friday meeting, known as the International Contact Group on Somalia, the U.S. pledged $40 million in political, humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance to Somalia.

The group said that Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Raphael Tuju will travel around Africa seeking troops for a peacekeeping operation in Somalia. Uganda has already pledged at least 1,000 peacekeepers.

Frazer had said Thursday the U.S. hoped the Ugandans could be deployed before the end of the January.

The E.U. said on Friday it would also help pay for a peacekeeping force envisioned at 8,000 troops, but only if Somalia’s government held talks with all segments of Somali society to stop 15 years of chaos in the Horn of Africa country.

Somalia’s foreign minister, Ismael Mohamoud Hurreh, said his government already was based on reconciliation and planned no special effort to talk to political opponents and critics.

Somalia’s president told members of the contact group that his country has a rare opportunity for peace, but needs international help to do it.

Tuju said it would not be easy to raise 8,000 troops, not because heads of state were unwilling, but because it is logistically and politically difficult to deliver African peacekeepers.

He declined to say what countries he would be visiting.

A U.N. peacekeeping force including American troops met disaster in Somalia in 1992, when fighters loyal to a clan leader shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters and battled U.S. troops, killing 18. The U.S. left soon afterward and the U.N. scaled down


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