[dehai-news] (APA) AU envoy urges Ethiopia to delay its troop withdrawal plan from Somalia


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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Dec 22 2008 - 10:55:24 EST


2008-12-22
AU envoy urges Ethiopia to delay its troop withdrawal plan from Somalia

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The African Union Special envoy to Somalia on
Monday urged Ethiopia to delay its planned withdrawal from Somalia until
further AU troops are deployed in the country.

The envoy, Nicolas Bwakira, urged Ethiopia to put a hold to its withdrawal
by the end of December until Nigerian, Ugandan and Burundi extra troops
deploy in Somalia in the coming few weeks.

It is to be recalled that on Sunday during the meeting of the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa, Uganda
and Burundi promised to send extra one battalion troops (850 troops) each to
Somalia.

Nigeria has also promised to send a battalion to the African Union Mission
In Somalia (AMISOM). Nigeria will be the third country, after Uganda and
Burundi to send peacekeeping forces to Somalia under AMISOM.

Bwakira was speaking at the AU Peace and Security Council ministerial
meeting, being held in a closed session at the Au headquarters in Addis
Ababa.

He indicated that a delay in the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops is required
until the new troops from Nigeria, Uganda and Burundi integrated into the
existing troops on the ground.

However, the Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tekeda Almeu
refused to consider the demand by the AU to delay the withdrawal of the
troops from Somalia saying it was an "Irreversible decision."

Ethiopia, which sent its troops to Somalia in December 2006, is currently
preparing to withdraw from the country saying that enough time was given to
the international community to use the "golden opportunity" to bring peace
and stability to Somalia, which remains without a central government for the
past 18 years.

DT/daj/APA

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