Somalia and Ethiopia say they will work together to protect each other’s territories, including requesting the UN Security Council to lift an age-old arms embargo on Mogadishu.
At the end of his two-day state visit to Addis Ababa, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a ten-point declaration with his host, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, “to nurture and strengthen the longstanding bilateral ties and relationships between the two countries and peoples based on respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of both countries,” the communiqué indicated.
The priority will be to ask Somalia to regain its power to purchase weapons and stabilise its security forces.
“The leaders call upon the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) to consider the request of the Federal Governments of Somalia for the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on the country for more than 30 years, to ensure that Somalia is sufficiently equipped to effectively address the security threat posed by the Al Shabaab terrorist group,” the communiqué added.
Somalia has been banned from direct purchasing weapons, an old embargo imposed in the early 1990s to stop warlords from overrunning the country during the civil war. But the ban has been extended continually in the past, varied to target al-Shabaab militants. Today, Somalia can only purchase certain weapons with permission from the sanctions committee of the UNSC.
The Somali and Ethiopian leaders) emphasised the need to work together, minimise the effects of undue external interferences that could potentially undermine their joint effort for peace and stability in the region and effectively combat terrorism.”
Somalia had also made trade deals with Kenya to resume importing its khat, raising competition for Ethiopia, which enjoyed almost exclusive access to Mogadishu under the former administration of Mohamed Farmaajo.