[dehai-news] (Gulfnews) Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of aiding Somali pirates

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Sun Mar 15 2009 - 17:12:22 EST

Ethiopia is accused of aiding Somali pirates

By Abdul Rahman Shaheen, Correspondent

Published: March 15, 2009, 23:32
Riyadh: Eritrean Minister of Information Ali Abdu accused some parties
in the Ethiopian government of aiding and abetting pirates off the coast
of Somalia in the Red Sea.
"They are extending logistic support to the pirates besides harboring
them at the Ethiopian camps located on the Somali-Ethiopian boarder
regions. Ethiopian Troops gave them protection even inside Somali
territories before their pull out," he said.
Speaking to Gulf News during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Ali Abdu
accused that some decision makers at the Ethiopian government are the
real beneficiaries of piracy, which brought them millions of dollars.

"After carrying out each and every act of piracy, pirates used to flee
into the Ethiopian camps on the Somali border," he said while
reiterating that it is impossible to end this criminal activity without
returning sovereignty to the government of Somalia and driving out all
the regional and international players, especially the Ethiopian
elements that are interfering in the internal affairs of the lawless
According to Ali Abdu, the issue of piracy on the Red Sea is directly
linked to the anarchy and political instability in Somalia. "If this is
not the position, why are these acts of piracy restricted to the Somali
coast alone? Why aren't they taking place on the coasts of Eritrea or
Sudan or Yemen? he asked.
Denying reports about Iranian security or military presences on the
Eritrean coast, the minister challenged those who raise such claims to
produce substantial evidence for it.
"These were false notions and were tantamount to the claims that have
been raised ever since 15 years about the security and military presence
of Israel on the Red Sea off the cost of Eritrea," he said while
stressing that Eritrea is an independent sovereign country maintaining
diplomatic relations with various countries in a way protecting the
interests of the people of the country.
"We have never made relations with any country either in the East or the
West in a way putting at risk the interests of our people. Likewise, we
are not in need of the support of the military forces of any country,"
he clarified.
Replying to a question about Eritrea's continued opposition to the new
government of Somalia under President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed even though
several countries came forward in recognizing it, Ali Abdu said that
this was nothing to do with Sharif Sheikh Ahmed or Abdullah Yousuf or
anybody else.
"Rather we are only concerned about the security, sovereignty and
stability of Somalia. It is unacceptable for Eritrea to recognize any
government in Somalia that was imposed by one foreign country or the
other," he asserted.
According to Ali Abdu, the government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is a group
of individuals pushed to the Somali leadership. "Recognition of the new
Somali government by some countries is not a significant thing as these
countries' role in Somalia was that of mediation.

That doesn't mean that the government is really representing the people
of Somalia," he said while drawing attention to the fact that the new
government, though recognized by a large number of countries, is still
facing stiff popular resistance in the country.

Ali Abdu noted that Eritrean government last month underlined the need
for pulling out of the African Peace Keeping Forces (AMISOM), comprising
of 3200 troops from Uganda and Burundi, from Somalia in order to ensure
peace and security in the violent-stricken Horn of Africa country.
"Eritrea sees that it is inevitable to establish durable peace in
Somalia. Ending the so called foreign interference and occupation should
be put as a mandatory condition for realizing the aspirations of Somali
people in rebuilding the war-ravaged country," he said.
The Eritrean minister renewed his country's solidarity with the
government and people of Sudan against the arrest warrant issued by the
International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudanese President Omar Bashir on
charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur region.
"Such decisions would undermine the sovereignty and unity of Sudan.
Eritrea has rejected outright the arbitrary move of ICC on the very
first day. We are of the firm view that the ICC move is posing a threat
not merely to Sudan and its president but to all the countries in the
region as well," the minister said.

Referring to a question about Eritrea's rejection of a Libyan initiative
to solve the border dispute with Ethiopia, Ali Abdu said that the
International Border Commission that was constituted following the
Algiers Accord of 2000, had come forward with the final settlement of
the border dispute between the two countries. "There was an agreement
between the two countries earlier to accept provisions of the
However, the Ethiopian regime disavowed the agreement and refused to
implement its provisions," he said while rejecting any new initiative to
settle the differences with Ethiopia as 'they are not at all political'.
"On the other hand, they are purely legal concerning with occupation of
our land. We are determined not to hold talks with the neighboring
country unless it withdraw forces from the Eritrean territories," he
Ali Abdu refused to comment on the allegations of former US
Administration that Eritrea was behind inciting troubles in Somalia.
"False accusations against Eritrea were gone with the Bush
Administration. Everybody knows the positive role of Eritrean government
in Somalia as well as in its efforts to solve the problems in eastern
Sudan, its mediatory role between Sudan and Chad and efforts to solve
the Darfur problem,' he said.
Referring to the government of Barack Obama, he hoped that the new US
Administration would adopt a balanced and peaceful approach in its
dealings with Eritrea. Ali Abdu blamed former President Bush for
deteriorating the relations between Eritrea and the United States.

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