From: Yemane Natnael (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Dec 05 2008 - 11:05:42 EST
By Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dec 5, 2008, 13:50
In December 2006, Ethiopia invaded Somalia setting a dangerous precedent in the region.
Initially, the pretext for the invasion was to pre-empt, in the words of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, the “Islamist threat” emanating from Somalia.. However, after it became obvious that the casus belli would not hold water, the Prime Minister recanted to claim that he sent his troops “upon the invitation” of the embattled “Transitional Federal Government” of Somalia. Sadly, Ethiopia’s aggression was abetted by the international community, with the US sponsoring the “preemptive strike”; the UN refraining from condemning the gross violation of international law; the African Union playing along with the “TFG invitation” claim; and IGAD voicing support for Ethiopia’s intervention.
Ethiopia has now announced that it is seeking an “exit strategy” from Somalia after causing huge devastation to the country. But the tragic fact remains that thousands of innocent Somalis have perished and over 500,000 civilians forced into exile or internal dislocation. Numerous towns and villages were pulverized in indiscriminate aerial bombings; often in an appalling environment of total news blackout. The relative stability that Mogadishu had seen after years of chaos was disrupted by Ethiopia’s invasion and occupation; with the country as a whole descending in a downward spiral. The mayhem and lawlessness that have gripped Somalia, including the proliferation of piracy with its dangerous consequences for commercial maritime traffic in our region, are indeed deleterious consequences spawned by Ethiopia’s invasion. Ethiopia’s legal culpability in all these traffic developments cannot thus be whitewashed by its withdrawal today or through
other tenuous explanations.
While these are the indelible facts, Ethiopia’s authorities continue to apportion blame here and there to duck principal responsibility. At times, it is the “Transitional Federal Government of Somalia which must assume responsibility for lack of commitment to clamp down the pirates…. . who are not fish who just sprang out of the sea” (statement from Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister). At other times, Ethiopia’s authorities seek to make a scapegoat of Eritrea in their usual, worn-out, campaign of vilification and disinformation (recent statement by the prime minister of Ethiopia.)
Even at this late hour, the enduring solution to Somalia’s myriad problems rests on three fundamental pillars. First of, external military intervention, under any pretext or label, will not mitigate but only exacerbate the turmoil that has gripped Somalia. Secondly, it must be recognized that the various schemes of Balkanizing and fragmenting Somalia into fragile mini-States will continue be a recipe for continuous conflict. Thirdly and most importantly, Somalis must be allowed to pursue the objective of national reconstitution through their own devices.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4 December 2008
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