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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid