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Turkish Will support AU Peace Facility Mission for Somalia

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Turkish Will support AU Peace Facility Mission for Somalia



Mogadishu (HAN) , March 2, 2005- Adjacent to Africa and specially in the Horn and east African Countries Like Somalia, Turkey is an important conduit for trade and has the ability to facilitate access to underutilized oil and gas resources in the Horn of Africa and IGAD zone . A large nation with vast economic potential and a secular government, it serves as the prime example of a successful Muslim democracy. Of most immediate importance, however, is Turkey's military and strategic significance. Turkey is a key military ally of the United States. The only primarily Muslim nation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey has one of the most capable militaries in the alliance and has proven to be cooperative and reliable in supporting American proposals and priorities.


Turkish Premier said, ''Turkish government has ] declared 2005 as African Year.'' ''There is an important economic potential between Turkey and the countries which I will visit during my tour of Africa. Also we focus on cooperation in third countries,'' he added.


Erdogan spoke to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport prior to his departure for Ethiopia on Tuesday to discuss regional security and trade cooperation; specially The Somalia's TNG relocation process and Turkish military and facilitation support.


Erdogan said, ''our visit is an important opportunity to develop and diversify bilateral relations in political, security, economic, commercial and socio-cultural areas, since 1884 partnership with Harar Islamic Kindom, before it become part of Ethiopian empire.''


''Both Ethiopia and Republic of South Africa exert efforts to settle stability and permanent peace in Africa. I think we can cooperate with both countries in this area. Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, is the political capital of African continent. Ethiopia hosts African Union and UN Africa Economic Commission. We have also opportunities of cooperation within the frame of economic cooperation organizations like 'new partnership for development of Africa' and 'eastern and southern Africa common market','' noted Erdogan.


Erdogan said, ''Republic of South Africa is important in its region with the political and economic power it has. It is a leading country for stability. It undertakes important roles to end poverty in Africa.''


Erdogan noted, ''during my tour, I will meet Ethiopian President Girma Woldegiorgis, Premier Meles Zenawi as well as President Thabo Mbeki of Republic of South Africa, Vice President Jacob Zuma and Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool.''


''My visit will also be beneficial in the aspect of commercial activities and mutual investments as well as investments in third countries,'' added Erdogan.


Erdogan said, ''I will address Turkish and Ethiopian businessmen in Addis Ababa. I will open Program Coordination Office of Turkish Cooperation & Development Authority (TIKA). I will also make opening remarks of Turkey-South Africa Republic Businessmen Meeting on partnership for development in Cape Town.'' Erdogan will return to Turkey on March 5th.

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02/03/2005 14:45 - (SA)

Tuesday March 1st, 2005 18:07.


KAMPALA, March 1 (AFP) -- East African defense ministers will meet here next week to discuss the deployment of regional peacekeepers to lawless Somalia, a move which has met local opposition, the Ugandan foreign ministry said Tuesday.


Defense ministers and senior military officials from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will gather on Monday to review the findings of an expert-level fact-finding trip to Somalia to prepare the a report on the mission, it said. "The defense ministers and army chiefs of staff will meet here starting on March 7 to receive a report from a team of experts that was recently in Mogadishu to assess the situation ahead of the proposed peace mission there," the ministry's permanent secretary, Julius Onen, told AFP.


The defense chiefs are to prepare a situational analysis and come up with the number of troops needed for the mission, its budget and other logistics, he said.


Monday's talks will set the stage for a meeting of IGAD foreign ministers on the issue of Somalia to be held March 16 and 17 in the Kenyan capital, Onen said.


The African Union has authorized IGAD -- which comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda -- to send peacekeepers to Somalia to help the country's transitional government get a foothold there when it eventually relocates from exile in Nairobi.


Although the goverment has requested the force, opposition to troops from Ethiopia and Djibouti is running high in Somalia, where the two countries are seen as having ulterior motives in contributing.


Onen said that the weekend rejection by influential Somali warlords of troops from the two nations would be discussed by the defense ministers but would not prevent the deployment of the IGAD force.


"That threat will not stop the mission because the region is ready to deploy troops in Somalia," he said.


Somalia has been awash in a sea of anarchic violence for 14 years since the 1991 ouster of Somali strongman Mohamed Siad Barre turned the Horn of Africa nation into a patchwork of fiefdoms ruled by violent warlords.


IGAD sponsored two years of peace talks between various Somali clans and factions that culminated in the formation of the Somali transitional government in Kenya in October.


The administration has remained in Nairobi because of security concerns although President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi are currently visiting the country to build support for the government's return.

Source: Sudan Tribune, Mar 01, 2005

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