Somali officials are considering
reporting neighboring Eritrea to the UN Security Council for undermining the
government despite Asmara's sharp denial. President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's unity
government has accused Eritrea of continually supplying arms hard-line
insurgent groups, including al-Shabab, to destabilize the government. But
Asmara flatly denies this, saying it is tired of accusations that it sends
weapons to al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants fighting the new Somali
government. Described by Washington as a terrorist organization with strong
ties to al-Qaeda, al-Shabab has refused to recognize the new Somali government,
vowing eventually to take over the country.
Abdushakur Warsame is the Somali
Minister for Planning and International Cooperation.He told VOA that Mogadishu has proof of Asmara's meddling.
is the first time we talked as a national unity government of Somalia about
Eritrea interference in Somali issues. And this is not an accusation, but it is
information, and we gave details and information about the Eritrean involvement
of sullying weapons and ammunitions to the opposition groups like al-Shabab and
He said Mogadishu is not
sure the rationale behind Asmara's interference in Somalia's internal political
"We don't know why Asmara is
supporting al-Shabab. There is no reason to support al-Shabab. Al-Shabab
doesn't have any legitimacy to fight against the national unity government.
There is no Ethiopian occupation in the country and they (al-Shabab) demanded
the Sharia law, and the president accepted, and the parliament approved that
application of the Sharia," he said.
Warsame described as
unfortunate Asamara's support to hard-line Islamic insurgents.
"We don't know why Eritrea
is still trying to destabilize Somalia and trying to create chaos and confusion
in our country," Warsame said.
He said Mogadishu has proof
of Eritrea supporting the insurgents.
"The minister of security
has already provided a detailed account of how many weapons they supplied and
how many times Eritrean flights land into Somalia. And he clearly stated and
said on Tuesday and Friday, and also he mentioned that in the next few days,
another airplane would be landing in our country," he said.
Warsame said Somali has
asked neighboring Eritrea to desist from supporting the hard-line insurgents
who are bent on destabilizing the new government.
"We are reiterating Eritrea
should not interfere in Somali affairs. Otherwise, our government is now
considering to write to the (UN) Security Council because that (its action) is
a breach of Security Council resolution of arms embargo on Somalia. So we are
considering to write to the AU (African Union), to the Security Council, and
all international bodies about what Eritrea is doing in our country," Warsame
Meanwhile, radical Somali
Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said over the weekend he was not
willing to talk with his former ally, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who
has repeatedly stated an eagerness to meet with his archrival.
Warsame says the new Somali
government will embrace all Somalis in its rebuilding efforts after at least 19
years of ineffective government that left the country in tatters.
"We have stated all the time
that our priority is security issue combined with reconciliation and
development. The government is now preparing its security forces and trying to
secure the city of Mogadishu the capital, and we are also trying to engage and
reach out every available means to the opposition groups, including Sheikh
Aweys. And we are very hopeful that Sheikh Aweys will join the reconciliation
because he doesn't have any other option," Warsame said.
Meanwhile, following Mogadishu's accusation of Asmara's
complicity to undermine its government, Eritrea in turn has accused western
powers of meddling in Somalia, fuelling strife that has so far left thousands
dead and scores injured, while many more have been forced from their homes in
the last two years.
Political observers say the ongoing regional power
struggle between Eritrea and Ethiopia is complicating peace prospects for
Somalia. Addis Ababa and Asamara fought a 1998-2000 border war that has left
deep suspicions on both sides which often spill over to neighboring countries
in the Horn of Africa region.
A panel of experts
from the United Nations which has been monitoring an arms embargo on Somalia
has often tagged Asmara as the main weapons supplier for hard-line insurgents
in the Horn of African region.