Somaliland: Ethiopia’s Zone 5 Delegation Conclude Official Working Visit

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Gen Tesfaye (L) entertains zone 5 delegation in Hargeisa

By: Mahmud Walaleye

Somalilandsun – A delegation from Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State concluded its visit in Somaliland on Sunday 20 October 2013 where they made discussions and set workable directions for future cooperation including on security.

The delegation made discussions with highest officials of a number of Somaliland institutions including the Somaliland Office of Presidency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and members of Ethiopian Somali community residing in Hargeisa.

The discussions were made as part of the agreement reached between the Government of Ethiopia and Somaliland administration to exchange regular meetings, exchange views and put in place workable directions which will help strengthen the overall cooperation between the two sides. Other understandings existing between the two sides include extradition of criminals and on trade expansion. Further negotiations are continuing to sign a more complete and comprehensive trade agreement.

Among the discussions include the current security situation in the region and at common borders and both sides have agreed to maintain the exchange of frequent visits and the convening of regular meetings at all levels so as to exchange information, evaluate implementation performances and define fitting plans based on present and future situations on the ground. Accordingly, an understanding has been reached to convene joint meetings between security experts and police forces at every shortest possible time.

Other security matters discussed include the importance of exercising maximum vigilance against common enemies who are trying to hide themselves among the peaceful and trying to make damage Somaliland and infiltrate into Ethiopia to make havoc. The delegation which noted the reliable and coordinated security arrangements being put in place to ensure the peaceful celebration of the approaching Ethiopian Peoples, Nations and Nationalities day in Jigjiga also briefed the Somaliland side on arrangements requiring their collaboration as well as communication to their public to be aware of that.

Zone 5 Delegation arrival in Hargeisa

According to Somalilandsun and Ogaal sources On Eritrea, the delegation explained about the availability of credible evidences on Eritrea’s continuation of orchestrating anti-Ethiopian plots. The regime in Eritrea is currently infiltrating trained destabilizing forces into Somaliland and other parts of Somalia. Among their missions include organizing themselves here and cross into Ethiopia to create havoc whenever they find any opportunity and maintaining their support to members of al-shabaab and other extremist elements that are now becoming the weakest of all the times but still striving to revive again.

The Ethiopian delegation while noting Ethiopia’s strongest capacity of containing and eliminating any major orchestrations of disruptions at their earliest stages also pointed out the importance of continuous follow up and proper information exchange and of taking coordinated measures against them when deemed necessary.

Discussions with members of Ethiopian Somali community residing in Hargeisa focused on ways of addressing their challenges and supporting them to be part of their country’s development and renaissance. The Consulate General office has always been ready in rendering any possible support and facilitation to the Ethiopian community in Hargeisa. As part of its effort to address their challenges, mobilize their active participation in their country’s stability and development and ensure their benefit, the office is planning to convene a discussion session with Ethiopian communities residing in Hargeisa and its surroundings shortly with plans to follow suit in other parts of Somaliland.

Members of the delegation also exchanged views with staffs of Ethiopia’s Consulate General Office in Hargeisa on Saturday 19th of October 2013 about the outcomes of the discussions and on the agreed-upon future directions. Head of Ethiopia’s Consulate General in Hargeisa- Somaliland, Brigadier General Berhe Tesfay who noted the strong cooperation that exist between Ethiopia and Somaliland on matters pertaining to security, infrastructure, trade, investment as well as other political and social affairs such as education and health also pointed out Ethiopia’s readiness to transform the relation into a strategic partnership. He said Ethiopia has always been supporting efforts aimed at ensuring mutual peace, stability and prosperity including in Somaliland. It has provided and continues to provide capacity building and other security and political supports to the Somaliland administration and people.

Ethiopia has also been advocating consistently and pushing the international community to encourage the peaceful settlement of any internal outstanding issues on one hand but also to consider special arrangements of providing development support to regions with relative peace and stability such as Somaliland in a way whereby mutual accountability would be ensured. In light of this, it has been a very welcome development to see the endorsement by the international community of a Special Arrangement for Somaliland (SSA) in a meeting held recently in Brussels. The arrangement would pave the way for the international community to support the Somaliland National Development Plan through the Somaliland Development Bank established in 2012 through the support of the UK and Danish which is being operational. Ethiopia will in fact continue pursuing its diplomatic engagement which will help to ensure peace and stability in the region including in Somaliland. It will continue its meaningful cooperation with the Somaliland government in as many focal areas as possible based on priorities identified by the administration. The proper delivery of promises Special Arrangement for Somaliland (SSA) would be paramount importance in improving major social services.

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