Leaders of Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia Wednesday agreed to establish a framework of cooperation in security, economy and political affairs.
In a joint declaration signed by President Mohamed Farmaajo, Ethiopia’s Ahmed Abiy and President Isaias Afwerki, the three countries expressed commitment to foster comprehensive cooperation for stability in the Horn of Africa region.
“The three countries shall build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties,” the joint declaration read in part. The leaders also agreed to coordinate to promote regional peace and security.
The declaration signed Wednesday evening came ahead of the tripartite meeting between the three leaders today in Asmara. The meeting follows shuttle diplomacy among the three leaders in the last two months which has seen the once hermetic Red Sea nation return to the fold following years of isolation amid rivalry with Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Djibouti has maintained its dispute with Eritrea is yet to be resolved and even rebuked President Farmaajo for calling on the UN Security Council to lift sanctions imposed on Eritrea in 2009. But the dispatch of foreign ministers from the three countries to Djibouti Thursday is indicative of efforts to mediate the two countries.
The two countries are in dispute over Dumeira Island and Dumeira Mountain. The tiny Dumeira Island lies just off the coast of the two countries, at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, an important shipping lane for global commerce.