Somalia’s President concludes two-day ‘fruitful’ state visit to Eritrea, Garowe Online

ASMARA, Eritrea – Somalia President Mohamed Farmajo on Saturday concluded his two-day state visit to Eritrea following a courtesy call by his counterpart Isaias Afwerki.

Farmajo, who is increasingly facing domestic pressure at home due to the dwindling economy and Al-Shabaab threat, arrived on Friday at Asmara.

Yemane Meskel, the Eritrean information minister, said two leaders discussed issues ranging from economy to see at the Horn of Africa.

Farmajo left for Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon following “fruitful” discussions with his distant neighbor, who Somalia had previously accused of sponsoring Al-Shabaab.

Bilateral relations between Somalia and Eritrea 

In a joint communique, the two leaders said they held frank and extensive talks on bilateral relations and regional matters of common

The two Presidents, Eritrea’s information ministry said, “noted with satisfaction the robust growth in bilateral cooperation.”

Joint Declaration on Friendship and Comprehensive Cooperation was signed on July 29, 2018, in Asmara.

The two Heads of State, the statement said, appreciated the progress in the cooperation between Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia based on their Tripartite Agreement of September 2018.

Farmajo and Isaias stressed that, despite lingering challenges and difficulties, “the regional climate remains conducive for effective and durable cooperation in the Horn of Africa.”

They rededicated themselves to strengthening their efforts to advance the Tripartite Agreement as well as overall regional cooperation.

Somalia government affairs

On Somalia, the two leaders lauded the considerable progress that has been made, while, at the same time, affirming that the full reconstitution of Somalia has yet to be achieved.

Somalia is struggling to fix her internal systems which have often faced resistance from Al-Shabaab militants who are keen to ouster the UN-backed federal government.

The group has often executed deadly attacks in the country. On December 28, a car bomb blast leftover 90 people dead, state media reported.

To achieve stability, they said, Somalia must focus on the “establishment of effective and strong national institutions, including defense and security institutions.”

Further, they added, the government must aim at resuscitation of the nation’s economy and social infrastructure.

Additionally, they agreed to redouble their joint efforts to consolidate Somali national sovereignty, peace, and security and to boost socioeconomic development.

International support for Somalia

The two leaders called on all friends and partners of Somalia and the region to support Somalia’s determination to set its own priorities and to strengthen its national institutions and capabilities.

For decades now, Somalia has largely depended on the international partners to sustain her economy besides the assistance in the AlShabaab war.

Turkey, Qatar, the European Union, the United States of America and Germany are among countries supporting the rebuilding of Somalia.

Currently, the Horn of Africa nation is fighting to have $4.8 billion debt owed to the international community written off. IMF and World Bank have endorsed the plan.

Why the previous relationship was frosty

Friday’s visit to Asmara was Farmajo’s first since April last year. The two nations renewed their cooperation in July 2018 after years of frosty relationship.

Somalia’s previous administrations had accused Asmara of financing Al-Shabaab besides assisting the militants to acquire arsenals.

In December 2018, the Eritrean President visited Mogadishu in the historic trip has since restored collaboration and mutual trust, Reuters reported.

President Farmajo thanked his host President Isaias for his hospitality and for Eritrea’s unwavering solidarity with Somalia.