US Hits Eritrean Role in Somalia Fighting

April 25th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

By David Gollust / Washington

A senior U.S. State Department official accused Eritrea Monday of helping insurgents battle forces of the Somali transitional government and Ethiopia in Mogadishu. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said Eritrea is trying to blunt Ethiopian influence in the region. VOA’s David Gollust reports from the State Department.The comments here came amid growing international concern about the situation in Somalia, where nearly a week of clashes has reportedly killed nearly 300 people and driven hundreds of thousands of Mogadishu residents from their homes.

In a talk with reporters, Assistant Secretary Frazer, who visited Somalia earlier this month, urged Somalia’s transitional federal government to reach out for an “inclusive dialogue” with the country’s clan leaders.

The latest fighting has pitted Ethiopian troops supporting the transitional administration against forces of two major clan factions and supporters of the Islamist movement driven from power when Ethiopia intervened in December.

Frazer said Eritrea, Ethiopia’s regional rival, is not playing a constructive role and continues to fund, arm, train and advise Somali insurgents, especially the Islamist al-Shabab militia.

The Assistant Secretary said U.S. communication with Eritrea has been sparse, but that she believes the Asmara government is acting not out of any affinity for Somali extremists but rather to frustrate Ethiopia, with which it has clashed over a border dispute:

“Very clearly Eritrea has played a game of trying to oppose Ethiopia everywhere in the region. And that probably fundamentally goes back to addressing the issue of the border. I do not believe that Eritrea has taken a position of supporting extremists as a sort of ideological orientation, or a common interest with extremist elements across the region. I think that they are also supporting rebels in Darfur for the same reason,” she said.

Frazer acknowledged the difficulty of achieving the kind of political dialogue she supports in Somalia as long as the security situation is so difficult.

She reiterated U.S. support for replacing Ethiopian forces in Somalia with a United Nations-authorized, eight thousand member African Union peacekeeping force.

Thus far, however, only about 15-hundred Ugandan troops have arrived, though other countries including Nigeria have expressed interest in taking part in the A.U. mission.

Frazer, who visited the western Somali town of Baidoa April 7, became the highest-ranking U.S. official to go to Somalia in more than a decade. The country has been mired in political chaos since 1991.

Officials here said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed Somalia and other regional issues late Monday with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin.

  1. TGW
    | #1

    Blame it all on WOYANE; It’s Meles Who refused to finish up that Mafia-Shabia. The Ethiopian people paid the bitter price after waiting under occupation for two years by Shbaia and lastly the Heros did their job; but this person, our so called PM resurrected Shabia at the expense of our dear Heros! Meles is still refusing to get rid off that stuff; Really pitty! but he should understand that he will be responsible for the mess Shabia is causing to us! I have simple question to him-What are U waiting?


    | #2

    Hulum endiyanebew be Amarigna metsafin merichalehu……..yetekeberachu anbabiyan yihin hulu mekera endiwerdibin yaderegen man new bilen bnteyik melsachin “WEYANE” endemihon tiritir yelewum….Wegenoche egna be Somalia guday min agbiton new Mogadisho dires hieden meswaetinet yekefelnew?……hizbachin bedihinetina be HIV AIDS eyaleke sle Somalia metabeku legna min lifeyid new?….ye USA mengistin lemasdeset mengistachin yemaygebabet kedada yelewum aydel?……yogermal hulgizie Lolie hono menoru yasaznal……ke 16 ametat befit ye Shaebia Lolie neber ahun degmo ye USA mengist yehone hono Amlakh agherachinin becherinetu yitebikilin…….Yitaktu

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  4. | #4

    Does my people understand what Melese doing right now> for every problems in Ethiopia, Melese blaming or accusing Shabia. Weather Flood hit some part of the country, HIV/AIDS, Planting his own bom and killing inocent civilian, High cost of living in the country, Unwilling to reconsile with his opposition at home etc. This is what melese said in Parlamentery meeting…Shabia did not want see united Ethiopia, Shabia did not want to see developing our econmy…What is he talking about shabia? which shabia? the Asmara shabia is his master. We Ethiopian know very well the shabia at ADDIS ABEBA in power is killing our people, ripping our country, destroying our unity etc..that why our people saying loud “KE WOYANE YE SHALAL SOMALIA! KE WEYANE YESHALAL SHABIA! we should know what Melese is trying to do. for the second time, he wants to fight for the fredom of Erteria (from shabia administration) on the expence of Ethiopia. Last time he organized TPLF (Tigrians young boys to perish their life for the independent of Eritera) Now he pursue the Tigrians he has to replace Shabia for the sake of Tigirians power. as the maintime, he start talking for the Rest of the country, If we go the war against Ertirea, we shoud secure Asab port. Where he alaways has umbithion or dream to have both country under his arm. Of course, he would put some of Pro weyane Ertierians in power that way they will imedatley agree to lease or give Asab port. That way he will make sure turn on all fuset on the name of economical corparation with the new Eriteria leaders. Of course, poor Tigreans did not know they will be thrown for hard labour work to previous masters Erterian. For us means for the rest of Ethiopians he will say why you objecting the new relationship with Eriterian’s new leaders. As far as Asab port will be used to import and export the woyanes and Al amudi corp. joint venture. For the majority of Ethiopians, under Melese would not benfit having to use Asab port. Our people already had the greater econmical unfairness with this regime. We cannot even buy the local farmers product to turn araound and sell it to bigger city in the country. leave alone to use the port export and inport goods. After sucssesful invasion, he will tell the USA, you want me to go replace Sudan leaders. Oh sure, lets lable them first they are extremist islam harboring tererist in the regin. I would send enough of ethiopian boys to fight the Sudan. Who cares how many of those come back any way they are not mine as long as I get your support financially and politically.

    I could say more about this shabia made Ethiopian leader Zenawi!!

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