Ethiopia, Somalia consider launching joint infrastructure projects: PM

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Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud shake hands during the first African heads of states summit in Mogadishu in September last year (Alleastafrica/Judy Maina)
In recent years, the neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia have been trying to fix their once strained relations, with Ethiopian army is helping Somalia to restore peace and order into the war-torn horn of Africa nation.
By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com
 
ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Ethiopia and Somalia are considering launching joint infrastructure projects mainly road that links the two neighboring nations.
 
Addressing the national parliament in Addis Ababa on Thursday, the premier said the political and military relations between the two nations is getting momentum as Ethiopia is doing “what it can” to establish a strong government in Somalia.
 
He said authorities of the two nations have already outlined the infrastructure projects which will be launched after the upcoming Somalia’s election and a permanent government start to govern the east African country.
 
He said Ethiopian troops who are part and non part of AMISOM are fighting Al-Shabab militants in Somalia and Ethiopia is discharging responsibility of helping the neighboring Somalia to conduct free and democratic election along with IGAD, AU and United Nations.
 
Hailemariam said the security situation in Somalia is getting better and hoped that the nation reach normalcy in the near future.
 
Last October Ethiopian troops who have been fighting Al-Shabab militants in Somalia vacated a series of military bases, sparking fears of a militant resurgence and a possible setback for African Union efforts to stabilize the country.
 
On Wednesday, Ethiopian troops vacated their posts in Tiyeglow which was seized from Al-Shabab in August 2014. It was the third town the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) vacated this month after El-Ali on October 11 and Halgan on October 23.
 
Experts have linked the withdrawals to the frequent anti-government protests in Ethiopia and the recent declaration of the state of emergency, but Ethiopian officials dismissed the connection.
 
Communications Minister Getachew Reda was qouted as saying that the troop withdrawals have “nothing to do” with the state of emergency.
 
He said the troops were in Somalia to assist the African Union mission there but were not part of the mission, AMISOM. He said keeping the troops there is posing an “economic burden and logistical challenges” to his government.
 

Ethiopia has already been linked neighboring Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan in road, railway and power infrastructures.

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