04 January, 2009
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: ETHIOPIAN NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCES START TO PULL OUT OF SOMALIA
It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) moved into Somalia two years ago to foil the clear and present danger created by extremist forces in Somalia that had repeatedly declared Jihad against Ethiopia. The major mission of the ENDF which was to remove the threat posed to our country was completed immediately and in no time. It would have been possible for the Ethiopian government to remove its troops immediately at that time. The reason this was not done was because it was felt that Ethiopia should help the brotherly people of Somalia bring to an end the country's statelessness and to help in restoring peace and stability in Somalia in cooperation with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). This has been accomplished by the ENDF with great sense of responsibility.
In addition, Ethiopia had been conducting all the necessary diplomatic effort to encourage the African Union and the international community to play their proper role to assist in the realization of peace and stability in Somalia. Ethiopia’s own effort in the diplomatic area as well as its activities within IGAD and the AU as a member of those organizations has facilitated support in terms of political position adopted by the international community as well as practical support from the AU, in particular, from Uganda and Burundi who have rendered tangible assistance.
Ethiopia, in collaboration with the TFG, the people of Somalia and AMISOM has undertaken numerous activities in the interest of the peace and stability of Somalia. Though it took sometime, nonetheless, it also became possible eventually to bring those moderate members of the ICU who had freed themselves from extremism together with the TFG in Djibouti for a peace deal among Somali peace forces which was in deed achieved after the two parties agreed through talks on various issues.
It was agreed in the same talks that the ENDF will be withdrawing from Somalia at the end of 2008. Accordingly, the ENDF after having drawn up the necessary plan, has began its activities at the end of 2008 to implement it. With the view to avoiding the creation of vacuum after its withdrawal and to ensure that the security situation in Somalia would not deteriorate, the ENDF has redoubled its efforts that had began earlier and is at present handling matters that fall within the final phase of this activities. In order to carry out this task effectively and with full common understanding, AMISOM force commander, Commander of the TFG forces and the commander of the Ethiopian Contingent in Somalia have met in Addis Ababa and have carried out the evaluation of the final arrangement in addition to drawing up a plan for subsequent activities. Moreover, since it is now confirmed that Uganda and Burundi have decided to contribute additional troops to AMISOM, the ENDF has reached the final phase of its withdrawal having accomplished its mission with success. Accordingly, the security forces of the TFG and AMISOM have taken over those areas that were earlier covered by the ENDF. It should also be pointed out that the citizens of Mogadishu and other members of the Somali Community have been given the necessary support to defend their peace and security in an organized fashion and enhanced manner, an effort which has been going on for the last two years.
It is after having ascertained that all this activities have been carried out and having seen in practice the readiness of AMISOM to stay in Somalia after the withdrawal of the Ethiopian Contingent that the Ethiopian government began to get the ENDF to withdraw from Somalia in conformity with the commitment it has made. The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops is not going to be conducted with undue haste. This would mean that it will take a few days to be completed and it would be done so as quickly as possible.
The government of Ethiopia realizes that durable peace is still the call of the people of Somalia which is yet to be answered. It is in light of this that Ethiopia appeals to the international community to give more attention to this call by the people of Somalia and discharge its responsibilities by helping the Somalis free themselves from the prevailing chaos. Ethiopia expresses its appreciation to members of IGAD and the AU, in particular to the governments of Uganda and Burundi who have demonstrated their resolve to carry out their Pan-Africanist Mission in Somalia. Our defense forces have carried out a successful Mission to eliminate the clear and present danger that our country had faced two years ago. In addition, the ENDF has over the last two years conducted major efforts to weaken the extremists and to contribute to the creation of peace and stability in Somalia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pays tribute on behalf of the entire people of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian government for the sacrifices it made to achieve this mission and reiterates that Ethiopia will continue as before to contribute in deeds to the establishment of durable peace and stability in Somalia.