Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eritrea criticises 'foreign meddling' in Somalia ahead of key talks-Africa Review 

Eritrea criticises 'foreign meddling' in Somalia ahead of key talks

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron will be hosting key talks on Somalia in London on February 23, 2012. PHOTO | AFP |
By ARGAW ASHINEPosted Tuesday, February 21 2012 at 13:57

Eritrea has proposed a "Somali people-owned" dialogue and criticised foreign meddling ahead of a major Thursday conference that will focus on better coordinating the international response to the country that has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

The Eritrean ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that unless the peace talks set for London were all-inclusive it would not be easy to achieve enduring peace for the Horn of Africa nation.

Asmara said that since "some powers" had "deliberately" kept it out of the conference, its position needed to be known.

Eritrea has been accused of supporting the militant Al-Shabaab group that has been fighting to oust Somalia's transitional government, in part informing UN sanctions slapped on the isolated Red Sea nation.

The statement did not provide details of how the proposed peace plan would be achieved but also strongly denounced on-going military interventions by Somalia's neighbours including Kenya and Ethiopia.

"Whatever their motivations, they [neighbouring countries] complicate and worsen the situation, fuel hatred and resentment, intensify and prolong the conflict," the statement read.

"The experience of the past two decades has repeatedly and amply demonstrated that only Somalis can find enduring solution for themselves and their country. Clearly what is required is a Somali-owned and Somali-driven political process."

Key donors

The US, Turkey, UAE, Sweden, the African Union and the EU are expected to attend the conference hosted by British prime minister David Cameron and which will seek ways of stabilising the war-wracked country.

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