4 May 2014

Somalia: Ethiopia to Enhance Support to Somalia - PM

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has pledged more support from his country to next-door Somalia, state-owned Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency reported on Sunday.

According to the agency, the pledge came during a Saturday meeting between the premier and visiting Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

During the meeting, Desalegn said the Ethiopian forces, working under the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), have been significantly contributing to facilitating the rapid delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Somali people and also in the fight against al-Shabaab militant group.

The premier went on to say that Ethiopia would continue to support infrastructure development in Somalia.

Moreover, he said, the country will further boost its overall assistance to help Somalia build a sustainable administration system, adding that his government is backing efforts that aim to bring about reconciliation between the Somali government and militant groups in the Horn of Africa country.

Mohamud, for his part, said that Ethiopia is playing a major role in maintaining peace and stability in his country.

The Ethiopian forces, which recently joined AMISOM, have managed to liberate areas that had been occupied by Al-Shabaab within a short time, the Somali president said.

He also lauded Ethiopia's efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to those who are in need, according to the agency.

Mohamud arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday for talks with Ethiopian officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

The country recently appeared to inch closer to stability with the installation of a new government and the intervention of African Union troops tasked with bringing Al-Shabaab to heel.

Somalia and Ethiopia signed a defense agreement earlier this year.

Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia in 2006 to drive out the Islamic Courts Union, which ruled the Horn of Africa country.

Addis Ababa sent forces again into Somalia to join African peacekeepers to support the central government against the militant Al-Shabaab group.

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