SOMALIA, ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA SIGN A HISTORIC TRIPARTITE PACT
By Billion Temesghen
High Government Officials Respond to Question of What the Pact Means to Them
President Mohammed Abdullahi, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed participated at the tripartite summit with President Isaias Afwerki making history for the Horn of Africa. The block’s vision is to develop relations and cooperation to the best interest of the three countries and their people. What does this pact mean? Mr. Yemane Ghebreab, Presidential Advisor and Head of PFDJ, Somalia’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Isse Awad, and Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, have given Q&A their views on the subject matter.
MR. YEMANE GHEBREAB, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR
Can we refer to the summit meeting of the three leaders as a continuation of the agreement signed before?
The stopover of Prime Minster Abiy to the port cities, is surely a continuation of the agreements signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia. President Isaias accompanied the Prime Minister through Assab and Massawa, as part of the implementation of the pillars and also an insight to what can be done to further boost economic relations between the two countries as well as regional economic integration.
For the second part, in Asmara, the leaders of Somalia and Ethiopia held extensive talks with President Isaias Afwerki agreeing on Joint Comprehensive Cooperation. If the three countries join hands in benefiting from their geopolitical and natural advantages peace and stability will be feasible in our region. Furthermore, for the Horn of Africa to rejoice in harmonious brotherly relations, the plan is for the rest of the African countries to be part of this intiatives.
Therefore, the longstanding vision and desire of the Government and People Eritrea, which have been facing continuous challenges, is finally becoming a reality. People should be aware that these are just the first steps towards setting a resolute path for our region and that we have to do so much more in order to attain our dream of a stable, secure and peaceful region. What the leaders strongly recommend is to boost the human resource of our countries. If that is done, they are highly convinced that the future will be self-relied and sturdy.
How will the joint agreement between Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia be implemented in the fastest way possible?
Just when you look at how the people of the three countries have received the news you can easily understand that this is of paramount importance to the people. Therefore, it will be a long journey that our people will prosper in. Somalia had its challenges and that this new bid will be of hope to our brothers and sisters in Somalia. Ethiopia had its challenges too, and as for us, we’re past the “no war no peace” situation. Therefore, this bears hope for the three countries. What we always call for is work; hard work. We’ll need to work hard, all of us together. Those who value the good that’ll be delivered through the agreement will be delighted in the new path for the Horn of Africa. Those who don’t, might try to mock and ridicule us; this shouldn’t startle us. We shall never forget how we got here. It was not easy then, and it won’t be any easier now. Certainly, not when we agree to join hands to march on an abounding path for the security and growth of our region. We should stay strong in our shared vision. This is about peoples who ardently await peace for the region. I wish us all a good beginning.
SOMALIA’S FOREIGN MISTER AHMED ISSE AWAD
What is your opinion of Eritrea’s policy on regarding regional stability?
It is a promising policy. It is one the region needed and I think it was long overdue. I am grateful that we have visionary leaders like the president of Eritrea, H.E., President Issias Afwerki, Ethiopia’s P.M., Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed. The three leaders signed an agreement during the visit which will contribute to the transformation of our region. Our people already share common culture, religion and many more traits. All the people needed was political and economic integration; a people to people relation for peace and stabilization in the region. That is what the three leaders have promised us and in the future we would love to include the rest of the countries in the horn of Africa. We appreciate Eritrea’s role in this regional peace process.
What will the coming together of the three countries mean to the people of Somalia?
It means peace, stability, progress in the region. To the people, this means a reconnection with their brotherly people in Africa. Previously, the people had difficulties in contacting easily for years. Now, is the time in which the world is coming together; regions are building their blocks. Therefore, it is about time, now, for our region to seize the moment for a future of prosperity.
Would you please tell us about the discussion the leaders had?
It was a friendly discussion. It looks like the three leaders have developed affinity and friendship at personal and political level. They have signed on four points; connecting people, establishing political, cultural and economic fronts. The three countries are to work on bringing the other African countries together for peace and stability, and to form a joint high level committee to ensure the implementation of what has been agreed on. I think we are moving towards a bright future.
How would you describe the friendship between the Somali people and the Eritrean people? And, what do you see in the future of Eritrea and Somalia?
People of Eritrea and Somalia have brotherly relationship that goes back many years. Abroad, Eritreans and Somalis interact as one family. They stand up for and care about each other. As for the future of the two nations, the leaders have opened the way for us, and it is up to us, up to the people, to jointly and amicably walk the path.
ETHIOPIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER, DR. WERKINEH GEBEYU
Do you see a possible future integration in the whole of Horn of Africa?
The two leaders share a vision of integration not only for the two countries, but also, for other African counties in the region and beyond. The vision is for African countries to unite under the same umbrella based upon the nations’ interest. We all will work together. For sure the countries of the Horn of Africa have common economic interest which will definitely demand a steadfast journey to economic and political integration.
What is your opinion on Eritrea’s longstanding foreign policy towards strengthening the unity within countries of the Horn Africa?
First of all, I would like to underline that the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea is not just about the policy. These are the same people living in the same geographical environment and inseparably connected. These people share many common things which they can nurture and achieve together. After the elongated “no war no peace situation” we have come to know that these countries should work together for a mutual benefit. For this reason, H.E Prime Mister Abiy Ahmed and H.E President Issaias Afwerki have been working tirelessly to solidify this relationship so as to compensate for what we have lost previously. So, this is a big era for the two nations.
We are working on economic, political as well as diplomatic ties. We are satisfied with this visit. We have been to Assab and Massawa. We have also inaugurated the Ethiopian Embassy in Asmara during our visit. This means a lot after twenty years.
Would you please give us an insight into the discussion the three leaders had?
One of the main topics was to make these three countries solidify the peace process in the region. The world sees our region as a war-torn area, which is true. The discussion of the three leaders definitely changed the game of what was yesterday and insured the beginning of a new era.
What will the usage of the Eritrean ports mean to Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is a country of 100 million people and economically it is one of the fastest growing countries. Eritrea’s ports will add a paramount value to the Ethiopian economy. But not only that, it will also enhance the people to people relationship and will create employment opportunities. We have a lot to learn from each other as these countries are two countries that still need to come out of poverty. As we’re definitely willing to do so, we can do that by working together.