Democratic election in Somalia ‘bring new opportunities’
Addis Ababa, September 20, 2012 (WIC) – The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the democratic election in Somalia will bring new opportunities for the region in general and Somalia in particular.
Getachew Reda, Director General for Public Diplomacy and Communications of the Ministry, told WIC that Somalia, which remained mired in conflicts for two decades, inaugurated its democratically elected president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on September 16, 2012 as al-Shabaab fighters lose grounds from their last bastion, the port city of Kismayo.
“The current political dispensation in Somalia, which makes it difficult for terrorists to operate as freely as they used to, means the security concerns we have will be resolved,” Getachew Reda said, adding that the new situation will open new opportunities for other countries to look into Somalia in terms of trade.
Ethiopia, under the leadership of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, had been playing a significant role in stabilizing Somalia by bringing together Somali political actors and helping them resolve their differences, Getachew said.
“But the largest chunk of contributions has come from the fact that Somalis themselves have now rallied behind peace and stability in their own country,” Getachew said.
A high level delegation, led by acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, attended the inauguration of Somalia’s new president.
"Meles Zenawi, our late great leader, always worked very hard to stabilize Somalia. I wish he were with us today to witness the fruits of his labour - stabilization and democracy," Hailemariam said on the occasion.
Ethiopia will officially swear in a new Prime Minister on Friday but Getachew maintained the new face of leadership in Ethiopia will not result in changes in foreign policies.
“The new Prime Minister will pursue the same policies we have been pursuing on Somalia for the last two decades,” Getachew said. “There is no need to change these policies because it is these policies that are achieving results.”
Since entering Somalia in December last year, Ethiopia’s military, along with Transitional Federal Government troops, have succeeded in ridding al-Shabaab from major cities of Somalia. African Union troops are also fighting al-Shabaab, which is reportedly on the verge of abandoning its last stronghold of the port city of Kismayo.
Getachew believes the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group al-Shabaab’s days, as a fighting force, are already numbered.
“Al-Shabaab is now a spent force,” Getahcew said. “But Ethiopia will continue its support as long as it is necessary and there is a need for it from the Somalis themselves.”
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