Ruto, Abiy discuss bilateral ties during Mogadishu meeting
By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Wednesday met and discussed a number of issues with Kenyan President William Ruto on the side-lines of the Somalia-Frontline States Summit in Mogadishu.
“On the side-lines of the Somalia-Frontline States Summit, I met with Kenyan President William Ruto to discuss strengthened bilateral ties through infrastructure development, increasing trade and investment as well as regional issues,” Abiy said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The Ethiopian PM was also briefed by members of the Ethiopian national forces fighting Al-Shabaab as part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia.
Somalia hosted a summit of leaders from neighbouring countries to discuss a collective military push against Al-Shabaab militant group.
Somalia seeks cooperation from its neighbours to eliminate Al-Shabaab in a bid to enhance regional security and to ultimately ensure safety and prosperity in the volatile Horn of Africa’s region.
The summit in Mogadishu brought together leaders from three “brotherly neighbouring countries”, the Somali presidency said, posting pictures of the arrival of Kenya’s William Ruto, Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The meeting reportedly comes one day after defence ministers and security chiefs of the four neighbouring countries met in Mogadishu.
“This collaboration is expected to lead to the quick liberation of the country from the kharijites (renegades) who have been dealt heavy blows on the battlefield in the past few weeks,” the Somali government said on Tuesday prior to the summit.
Joint military campaign
Following Wednesday’s meeting, the four regional leaders agreed on a plan for a joint military campaign against Al-Shabaab.
In a joint communique issued after the meeting, the leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti said the operation would “prevent any future infiltrating elements into the wider region”.
“The Summit agreed to make the final push for joint operations in the areas that remain under the terrorists to completely liberate the whole of Somalia from Al-Shabaab,” read Wednesday’s joint communique.
The Somali militant group has been carrying out deadly attacks in the region.