Ethiopia: Most goals in Somalia reached

Jan. 14, 2009 at 9:17 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Ethiopia has achieved most of the goals it set out to accomplish by sending troops into Somalia three years ago, a government official says.

Bereket Simon, an advisor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said Ethiopian troops, which handed over control of the country to the Somalia Federal Transitional Government and a moderate faction of the Islamic militia al-Shaabab Tuesday, played a key role in tamping down danger from extremists, the Voice of America reported.

"We have been able to get rid of the immediate and clear dangers that were posed by extremist forces in Somalia before two years, and then we were striving to take the opportunity into account by trying to help Somalia become a stable country," Simon told VOA in Washington. "We have been able to open forums between the different clans around Mogadishu.

"As you know, the reconciliation conference that took place last year, and then we have been helping them to establish the police force and other institutions," he said.

Responding to critics who say Somalia is less stable now than in 2006, Simon said it was regrettable that Ethiopia was not able to establish an all-inclusive transitional government.

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