Eritrea “to Sponsor” Talks Between Somali Government and Al-Shabaab

The visit of Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to Eritrea comes in the wake of denials by the Federal Defence Minister and the Commander of the Somali National Army about allegations that  young Somali army recruits had been sent to Asmara for training. Eritrea has renewed its interest in Somalia following the 2018 visit by President Mohammed to Asmara, the first visit of a Somali Head of State to Eritrea.

Eritrean President (right) uses his leverage to sponsor peace talks

An adviser to the Somali President was in Paris two weeks ago to discuss how the talks agenda between the Federal Government and Al-Shabaab , pushed by France behind-the-scenes, could bring a faction of Al-Shabaab to the negotiation table.  Eritrea hosted the former Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS)  between 2007 and 2008, when the insurgent group led by former  ARS, President Sharif Ahmed, signed an agreement with the former Transitional Federal Government of Somalia thereby ending its dependency on Eritrea.  

The Somali Federal Government has been contemplating the possibility of deploying Eritrean troops as a part of Amisom. The government expects to exploit the loophole opened by President Mohamed’s predecessor, who allowed Ethiopian troops into Somalia as a part of Amisom under a bilateral agreement. “France is the lead EU country in Somalia. It is becoming politically assertive and want to try a new approach now that UK is out of EU” says a Mursal  Taar, a Paris-based Somali journalist.

© Puntland Post, 2020