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Ethiopia Prepared To Pull Out Of Somalia

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last week said his country is prepared to withdraw troops from Somalia. In 2006 Ethiopia invaded Somalia to oust an Islamist militia and re-install the transitional government. The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops has been a key demand of the Islamist insurgents.

Rashid Abdi is an analyst with the Brussels-based Interational Crisis Group (ICG).From Nairobi, Kenya he told VOA’s Akwei Thompson that the Ethiopians are signaling that they are frustrated with this constant infighting and that at some point their patience will run out.

“The recent comments made by both Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his foreign minister that Ethiopia is “not going to stay any longer and wants to pull out” – comes in the context of sort of a growing frustration within the Ethiopian government,” Abdi said.

The ICG analyst said the operation itself might be proving too costly for the Ethiopians.

“Also as the prime minister himself indicated it’s very costly to maintain troops in Somalia. Ethiopia is a poor nation with a massive population and can ill afford that kind of financial commitment,” Abdi added.

Abdi thinks Ethiopia is also discontent with the help it is getting from the West.

“As the prime minister said Ethiopia is a convenient horse which the West sometimes rides and flogs,” he said.