News / Africa

Eritrea Cabinet Approves Aid to Somalia

A woman walks with her children to a transit center in the Dolo Ado refugee camp in southern Ethiopia, July 19, 2011.
A woman walks with her children to a transit center in the Dolo Ado refugee camp in southern Ethiopia, July 19, 2011.

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  • Clottey interview with Ali Abdu, Eritrea's information minister

Peter Clottey

An official says Eritrea’s Cabinet has approved a food aid package to Somalis affected by drought and famine.  Some skeptics have questioned the timing as well as the size of the approved aid.

But Information Minister Ali Abdu says “it not about how much [aid] you give, it’s about how much love you give with what you give.”

“We are doing this with deep affection... because we stand along our Somali brothers and sisters [to] the bitter end,” said Abdu.

Experts say the Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought over a decade.  The United Nations says more than 12 million people in the region are in urgent need of food aid.  In Somalia, where the situation is the most serious, the U.N. says more than 3.2 million people are estimated to be on the brink of starvation.

Abdu said Asmara will continue to support efforts to help stabilize Somalia.

“We have been supporting the Somali people to [gain] their sovereignty and [to reinstitute] public and government institutions, the territorial integrity of Somalia,” said Abdu. “This is something that we have been striving for the last 20 years [and] we have been consistent. And now, it is proven that our approach is the best approach.”

Asmara has often stated that foreign intervention and “pointing fingers ” would not resolve the situation in Somalia.

“Why should people opt to exhaust all the wrong procedures before they embark upon the right one ?‘’ asked Ali Abdu adding that “if a fire is set ablaze  somewhere, like what we see happening in Somalia, first and foremost people should try to extinguish it before arguing how it was ignited in the first place… whether it was with a match or a lighter.”

He further added that “There should be political dialogue among Somali people including in Somaliland and Puntland and other entities of Somalia,” said Abdu. “The world should realize that the only way is to leave Somali people to decide their destiny and their own fate.”

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