[dehai-news] (GulfNews) Ethiopia is accused of aiding Somali pirates

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Mar 16 2009 - 08:50:25 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 country.

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

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

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

"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 settlement.

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 said.

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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