News / Africa

Regional Summit Urges Ethiopia to Send Troops to Somalia

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the 16th Extra Ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of state meeting on Somalia, in Addis Ababa, November 25, 2011.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the 16th Extra Ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of state meeting on Somalia, in Addis Ababa, November 25, 2011.

A Horn of Africa regional summit has given its blessing to the return of Ethiopian troops to Somalia, but the force will remain outside African Union command.

The Inter Governmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, Friday officially asked Ethiopia to support the campaign by Kenyan, Somali and African Union forces against Somalia's al-Shabab rebels. At the end of a one-day regional summit, IGAD Secretary General Mahboub Maalim said Ethiopia had agreed to help.

"The members of the summit did request the Ethiopian government to come in and assist peace and stabilization activities that are going on in Somalia, and there was a promise from the Ethiopian government to help," he said.

It was not immediately clear how Ethiopian troops would contribute to the campaign against the al-Qaeda linked rebels. But African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said the Ethiopian force would not be under the command of the AU mission known as AMISOM.

"The IGAD summit was ready to even consider the possibility of Ethiopian troops to be included in AMISOM, but it is the wish of the Government of Ethiopia to continue to support, to assist in any way possible both AMISOM and TFG [Transitional Federal Government] troops without being integrated into AMISOM," Lamamra said.

Officials Friday said Ethiopia has not begun operations in Somalia, though news agencies have quoted witnesses saying Ethiopian troops have taken up positions several kilometers inside the border.

Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said Addis Ababa would respond to the IGAD call “as soon as possible”.

Diplomats say the Kenyan troops that entered Somalia nearly six weeks ago are expected to become part of the AMISOM force as soon as the United Nations Security Council approves an increase in the size of the mission. AMISOM currently has an authorized strength of 12,000, but the Security Council is considering a request to increase it to 20,000.

Commissioner Lamamra said Kenya's inclusion in AMISOM would provide the force with much-needed “force enablers” to upgrade the military campaign.

"Once Kenya is re-hatted, [wearing caps of AMISOM] already you have enablers on the ground. Helicopters are there, aircraft are there, warships are there, so there will be be a need to make proper arrangements for those enablers to be usable by the etire opeations across the entire territory of Somalia."

The communique issued at the end of the summit condemns regional outsider Eritrea for supplying ammunition to al-Shabab. Eritrea denies the charge.  Eritrea suspended its membership in IGAD a few years ago, but its recent attempt to rejoin has been rebuffed.

The summit also took the opportunity to admit Southern Sudan as its newest member.  The regional economic community now includes Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Sudan and Djibouti.

Four heads of state attended the summit; Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelle, and the host, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs