Mubarak discusses situation in Somalia with Sharif Sheikh Ahmed

President Hosni Mubarak receives today Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to discuss developments in Somalia and the African Horn area.

Somali Foreign Minister, Youssef Hassan Ibrahim, asserted that the Ogaden territory is a Somali land currently occupied by Ethiopia, and that territory’s indigenous Somalis now live under Ethiopian occupation.

Ogaden is witnessing an insurgency led by the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which is fighting for liberation against Ethiopian forces.

On Friday, before his arrival in Cairo, Ibrahim said, “Geographically, the territory is part of Somalia. In 1977, its inhabitants fought against Ethiopia in order to acquire the right to self-determination. Though the Ethiopian regime recognizes that the people have this right, this rule is not applied to Ogaden.”

Ibrahim added, “Artificial borders created by colonialism are imaginary because there’s nothing that separates Somalia from the territory. Somalis move to and from the territory. There is always a connection among them. The territory’s economic activities are linked with Somalia, but it’s still occupied.”

In response to how his statements affected Ethiopian-Somali relations, Ibrahim asserted that Addis Ababa recognizes the Somali government. “It agrees that acts of the Movement of Warrior Youth, Al-Shabaab, will lead to unrest…  Ethiopians fear the movement would prevail inside Ethiopia.”

Concerning fears of Ethiopian military intervention in Somalia, Ibrahim said Ethiopia has assured that it’s not willing to send armed forces to Somalia again.

Regarding the Arab states reaction to the situation in Somalia, Ibrahim said, “We reproach Arabs for not supporting us in settling Somali conflict, either by reconciliation or financial support. Humanitarian aid given by Arabs and other supporting countries to Somalia or the emigrants is not sufficient at all.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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