Somalia

National security centre stage on Somalia President's visit to Eritrea

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President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed met his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki for discussions on enhancing bilateral relations across the political, security, military, economic, cultural, and social sectors.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has acknowledged and appreciated Eritrea's support for peace efforts in his country, saying it has positively impacted security forces and resulted in significant gains.

Hassan registered his appreciation during a visit to Asmara, Eritrea's capital, on Monday, where he met with President Isaias Afwerki at the State House for discussions on enhancing bilateral relations across the political, security, military, economic, cultural, and social sectors.

Presidents Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia) during their meeting at the State House in Asmara on July 8, 2024. (Photo: Shabait/Handout)

On Tuesday, the two heads of state met with a batch of Somali National Army soldiers undergoing training at the Eritrean Air Force (EAF) base shortly before Hassan departed for Mogadishu after winding up what Villa Somalia described as a fruitful two-day working visit.

Yemane Ghebremeskel, Eritrea's Minister of Information, had described the tour as a demonstration of the strong ties between Somalia and Eritrea, saying, "The two presidents discussed enhancement of bilateral ties as well as multilateral issues of mutual importance."

The training is a collaboration within Eritrea's broader solidarity with Somalia, focused on stabilising and strengthening the nation as it fights Al-Shabaab terrorists. The country has actively supported Somalia in rebuilding its national army, training thousands of soldiers who play a crucial role in enhancing security.

Some of the Somali National Army soldiers undergoing training at the Eritrean Air Force base in Asmara, as pictured on July 9, 2024. (Photo: Shabait/Handout)

The collaboration also involves strategic consultations and exchanges to strengthen military cooperation, supporting Somalia's efforts to rebuild and maintain its national defence forces.

Somalia's security forces, as stated in the Somali Transition Plan, are gradually assuming full responsibility for its security from African Union peacekeepers. The plan involves a phased approach to transfer security duties to Somali forces, supported by capacity-building efforts and institutional reforms.

It aims to empower Somalia to manage its security affairs effectively while fostering regional stability and development.

President Isaias underscored the profound historical connections between Eritrea and Somalia, emphasising the imperative to bolster comprehensive bilateral cooperation.

"Building on our rich historical ties, we are committed to enhancing the cooperation between Eritrea and Somalia," he said.

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