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Ethiopia position toward Somalia could change - Meles


June 25, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia could send troops to Somalia if the situation there deteriorates but for the time been there is no need to intervene, said the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Somalia’s speaker last week called on neighboring countries and international community to intervene militarily in Somalia to prop up the UN backed transitional federal government (TFG), which has been facing a fierce military offensive since May 7 carried out by the Islamists.

"Our reading of the situation in Somalia and in Mogadishu, is slightly different from the one of the speaker of the parliament that if there is no foreign military intervention within 24 hours, the TFG will collapse," Meles told reporters in a press conference held late Wednesday.

"The TFG is facing a very difficult situation with Al Shebab and Hizb Al-Islam militias supported by hundreds of jihadists, but we don’t believe they will be toppled," he further said.

However he did not rule out sending troops to Somalia if the situation gets worse. "We want to wait and see how the international community as a whole responds and then see if there is any need to revisit our position on the matter," he said.

He also suggested not willing to expose his troops to danger and criticism at the same time.

"We do not want to find ourselves in a situation where a so-called Ethiopian horse would be trying to take the chestnut out of the fire on behalf of everybody else," Meles told a news conference late on Wednesday.

"And this horse being whipped by every idiot and his grandmother."

The Ethiopian Communications Minister, Bereket Simon, said on Saturday it would only intervene militarily in Somali to support the besieged transitional government if it has a clear international mandate.

Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust a government led by the Islamic courts from the capital in which new President Sheik Sharif Ahmed played a role. But Ethiopia besides fighting the Islamists groups had been blamed for hindering the international efforts to settle the conflict.

Also after being supported in the first stage of the operation by the US administration, Washington dropped it logistical and financial support to the Ethiopian troops there.


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  • 26 June 2009 09:06, by Jabeessa

    I praise Mr. Meles for his openness at the end that he and his forces had suffered a lot in Somalia during the war in 2006. It is good to hear from him that he is not at least currently in a position to send his force (I am not saying Ethiopian military force), to the chaotic land in the horn of Africa. I think he has finnally woken up. Nothing is as praiseful as accepting the failure in mission.

    We no more want another, witness than Meles himself to assure us that his force has suffered emmensely both materially and humanly.
    For that reason, he is not sending his force to Somalia. Our saddness comes from his secretive behavior towards his own people, to tell how much entering Somalia has costed the country. How many soldiers we lost in that land, what financial lossess we encountered, etc.
    Apart from that, we support the position of Mr. Meles, at least for now that he is not ready to send any soldier to Somalia, if he is to live up to his word.
    We wiil wait and see as to how he behaves in the future and the exetent to which he will become an honest to live up to his word. Time will show us that all!!

    repondre message

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