President Mohamud made an official visit to Addis Ababa (September 28) for two days of talks with Ethiopian PM Abiy, who welcomed him on his arrival ( Economic cooperation and the fight against terrorism were central to the meetings.

The visit appeared to heal a distance that had been building in the first months of the Mohamud presidency. Somalia has even re-established diplomatic relations with Egypt, now an opponent of Ethiopia over issues related to the GERD dam along the course of the Nile. It was therefore decided to use formal consultation mechanisms to maintain an alignment on issues of mutual interest.

A much-mediatised topic was the call to lift or at least reduce the arms embargo on Somalia. All governments in Mogadishu that were endorsed by the international community have called for this step, which has always been denied although claimed as indispensable in the fight against terrorism. Neighbours in the region have been sceptical of possible diversion of weapons provided to terrorist networks or for aggressive nationalist purposes. Their support is crucial to changing the current framework instead.

The Somali Presidency aims at a greater autonomy in managing security dossiers, to reconquer internal areas and place them again under government control. A setback in the operations in Hiraan highlights the difficulties in maintaining recent advances. Those difficulties were underlined by new acts of terrorism even in the vicinity of the capital, against prominent exponents of the Security Forces such as the Mogadishu Police Chief, General Farhan Qarole (

The possible return of recruits from Eritrea would support the normalisation effort, but the appeal in this regard to the authorities in Asmara has so far been unsuccessful.


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