March 05, 2019
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia are en route to Nairobi, Kenya for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, a source close to the matter told Addis Standard.
PM Abiy has been holding a marathon of diplomatic shuttle this week which started with President Uhuru’s two days visit to Ethiopia On March 01 and 02 March, where both have attended, among others, the Ethiopia-Kenya trade and investment forum and the inauguration of Debre Birhan Industrial Park.
President Uhuru’s visit was followed by a visit today of Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to Addis Abeba during which he held discussions “focused on four key issues, including: the strengthening of regional peace & security per the agreements signed previously; mechanisms to ensure Kenya-Somali relations are strengthened; continuation of joint port development; and ensuring that relations between the administration of Somaliland & Somalia is in support of regional peace,” according to a statement from the office of PM Abiy Ahmed.
In what regional analysts say was a dangerous turn of event in east Africa’s regional peace and security, an age old border dispute between Kenya and Somalia came to a full fledged diplomatic spat resulting in both countries recalling their respective envoys. The latest dispute follows Kenya’s accusations that Somalia has signed deals in off shore oil blocks within disputed territories with European companies.
According to our source, PM Abiy has since stepped up efforts to resolve the diplomatic deadlock between Kenya and Somalia during the visit of President Uhuru, “which resulted in positive development.” President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed visit to Ethiopia today is part of the talks which started with President Uhuru.
The marathon of the diplomatic shuttle also saw PM Abiy Ahmed and President Uhuru met President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara, Eritrea where the trio discussed on “timely regional issues in a tripartite summit while bilateral matters also [featured] in separate meetings”, according to Eritrea’s information minister Yemane G. Meskel.
Following the tripartite summit in Asmara, PM Abiy and President Isaias flew to Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan, for a day-long working visit where yet another tripartite Summit was held with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir “on regional issues of common interest”, Yemane said. PM Abiy’s office also said that the meeting between the three Horn of Africa leaders focused on “regional peace, economic ties and infrastructure development [and] addressing issues of developing joint capacities and working together in an integrated manner.” PM Abiy Ahmed “has been making a concerted effort to bring peace and reconcile rivalries in South Sudan.”
According to our source, PM Abiy’s latest effort also include mediating Somaliland and Somalia. On February 20, President of the Somaliland Administration Muse Bihi Abdi and his delegation were on a visit to Addis Abeba, where they met and held discussions with Pm Abiy. “The two parties discussed and agreed on a number of key points including strengthening their people to people relations; ensuring the well-being of Ethiopians in Somaliland and working in unison on matters of peace and security,” Pm Abiy’s office said.