The mission of stabilizing Somalia and strengthening the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is showing fruitful results said Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
By Andualem Sisay
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 3, 2007 - Responding to questions raised by MPs on the time table for withdrawing Ethiopian forces in Somalia, Meles indicated on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 that the mission is meeting its goals and currently, the engagement is limited to policing activities and building the capacity of Somalia’s military forces.
“Even though we don’t see the Somalis depending on their own forces anytime soon and given the kind of slow response from the International community, we are observing encouraging results from our involvement in Somalia,” he said.
The National Somalia Peace Conference conducted in Somalia a few months ago among the various clans, and the peacekeeping activities being undertaken by the 600 Somali troops trained in Ethiopia for six months are among the encouraging results achieved so far, according to the P.M.
As a result of this, he further indicated, Ethiopia is planning to train additional troops, double the previous number, strengthen Somalia’s military and ensure peace and security in the country and the horn region.
The P.M. also stated, despite the procrastination of the international community to deploy the 8,000 peacekeeping African troops requested by the African Union in Somalia, Burundi’s decision to shortly send its troops to join the 1,600 Ugandan forces in Somalia is part of the positive results for restoring peace in Somalia.
The main reason for Ethiopia to involve itself in Somalia is to stop the forces organized under the United Islamic Court (UIC) of Somalia, which includes armed forces of Ethiopian opposition parties orchestrated by Eritrea, from realizing their final plan of attacking Ethiopia after defeating the TFG in Baidowa.
The forces gathered under the UIC were planning to conquer Addis Ababa and pray at the Grand Anwar Mosque within one week by attacking the country from South, East, North and creating internal unrest, according to Prime Minister Meles.
During his briefing to the Parliament, Meles also indicated that Ethiopia is not going to open war on Eritrea as the peace strategy of Ethiopia towards Eritrea is precisely to avoid conflict.
“There is no reason for us to invade Eritrea, as opposed to claims by Eritrea, as our peace strategy is working properly and they are not so far a threat to our struggle against poverty and avoiding famine,” he said.
Meles used the American saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, to stress his government’s commitment to maintaining the peace strategy that he said was working quite well.
Government will consider exhaustively all options to avoid war/conflict with any one in order to focus on fighting poverty and sustaining the development of the country, according to Meles. “Nevertheless, if we are forced to go to war, we have to make sure that we return back to the development activities as soon as possible,” he said.
In case Eritrea invades Ethiopia for a second time, Meles indicated that his government will take action in a way that ensures there will not ever be a third invasion by Eritrea.
But currently Ethiopia has no intention of going to war with its northern neighbor, Eritrea, because it is too costly and the root for ‘forces of destruction’, UIC, ONLF, OLF, Eritrea’s government and leaders of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy party who are now advocating the approval of HR 2003 by the US Senate, is not Eritrea but Ethiopia, according to Meles.