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The member states of Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) requested that both permanent and temporary members of the United Nations Security Council lift the arms embargo imposed on Somalia and extend the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) before the end of October 2012 through their diplomatic mission in Addis Ababa last Friday.
The request was thought to be the result of improved peace and stability in Somalia.
“The current situation in Somalia both politically and militarily is hopeful. It has a new constitution, parliament speaker, two deputy speakers, President and Prime Minister. We in IGAD are extremely happy with the peaceful manner in which the election was conducted. This indicates that Somalia has opened a new chapter of peace and stability. We are encouraged by the new development in Somalia,” said Birhane GebreKirstos, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia while speaking about the current situation in Somalia and the need to lift arms embargo imposed on Somalia two decades ago last Friday in his office.
“Al Shabab has been weakening both politically and militarily. It has been politically isolated by Somali people in particular. The people are extremely fed up with recurrent war, conflict and unrest. They are really looking forward for a normal life which a major development,” added the acting Minister.
The request was the result of a meeting of Ambassadors of IGAD member states that took place on October 05, 2012 in Addis Ababa. The ambassadors addressed successful power transition, underlined the achievement of AMISOM and Somali National Security Force, stressed the need to build an enhanced level of security for the whole of Somalia by integrating all armed Somali National Security Forces under one command structure, the need to lift the arms embargo on Somalia and the renewal of the AMISOM mandate.
Recently, Al Shabab lost control of some strongholds including Mogadishu, Afgoye, Baydowa, Merka, and Kismayo. It has been squeezed out from other territories in Southern and Central Somalia with the help of the Ethiopian and Kenyan Military Forces leaving vast territory to the hands of Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG).
Asked when the Ethiopian armed force would withdraw from Somalia, the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, said that ‘no need for rush to withdraw’.
“The decision has all along been to help the TFG. We will withdraw our troops as soon as possible. We are not going to create a vacuum in the transitional government. We expect AMISOM troops to be able to fill the gap before we withdraw. So, at this stage there is no need for rush to withdraw,” argued the late Primer. It seems the same holds true this time around too.