By T. Roble
Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia will this year mobilise resources to fight terrorism and boost economic growth through joint infrastructure development, a meeting of leaders from the three countries in Asmara resolved Monday.
Following the conclusion of the one-day meeting in Asmara bringing together Presidents Mohamed Farmaajo, Eritrea’s Afwerki and Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, the three leaders said in a communique they had reached a Joint Plan of Action for 2020 which covers economic development and security.
The plan seeks to stabilize the region, enhance security, fight terrorism and explore opportunities for economic development.
“The three leaders adopted a Joint Plan of Action for 2020 and beyond focusing on the two main and intertwined objectives of consolidating peace, stability and security as well as promoting economic and social development,” the communique read in part.
Today’s meeting is a follow-up to the September 2018 historic engagement by the three leaders following the thawing of relations in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea had hitherto been described as Africa’s North Korea; a hermetic nation isolated from the community of nations in the Red-Sea region.
The communique added the three leaders agreed ‘to prioritize the mobilization of their bountiful human and natural resources; build, modernize and interface their infrastructure and develop their productive and service sectors.’
President Farmaajo visited Eritrea on the 10 and the 11 of this month in what sources intimated to Goobjoog News that he would attend the pass-out of Somali Special Forces trained by Eritrea. There have also been unconfirmed reports Somalia was contemplating the enaggemnent of Eritrean troops in Somalia as the UN cuts down on African Union numbers. A further 1,000 AMISOM troops are expected to leave the mission next month bringing to 19,000 the AU forces in Somalia.
Djibouti, a close ally of Somalia and strategic partner in the Horn of Africa has remained out of the tripartite entente given its unresolved disputes with Eritrea over Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island claimed by both countries.
Dumeira Island lies just off the coast of the two countries, at the southern end of the Red Sea and is close to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, an important shipping lane for global commerce.
Djibouti rebuked Somalia in August 2018 following the call by President Farmaajo on the UN Security Council to lift sanctions against Eritrea terming it ‘deeply shocking’.
Efforts by the HoA troika to engage Djibouti by sending foreign ministers there failed as Djibouti maintained relations with Eritrea can only be restored when the border dispute is fully addressed and prisoners of war released.
Djibouti announced in November 2018 that it was seeking the intervention of the UN Security Council to resolve the border row with Eritrea after ‘negotiations to resolve border row by third parties had failed.’