ASMARA, Eritrea – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo traveled to Asmara on Sunday after a brief stay in Juba, South Sudan, and will be at the Red Sea for the next two days, where he is expected to sign a series of bilateral cooperation agreements with Eritrea, an enemy basin allied nearly seven months later. the signing of a similar agreement.
At Asmara International Airport, Farmajo, who is on his second global journey for the first time since February, received an encouraging reception from his host, Isaias Afwerki, popularly regarded as the “father” of the Horn of Africa due to his long stay in power in the small Red Sea nation.
An honor guard was introduced for the Somali president, who is at least five months away from a competitive election that will define his future in Somalia’s politics. He inspected the parade, which hosted the Eritrean Defense Forces, which has a long history with Somalia.
Yemane Meskel, Eritrean’s information minister, said the Somali leader would be in the country for two days, describing his period as a “work trip”. The two heads of state would be pictured in the State House, which had a formal meeting.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, HE Mohammed A. Mohammed, arrived in Asmara in the middle of the morning today for a 2-day working visit,” he said. “President Mohammed and his delegation received a warm welcome from President Isaiah Afwerki on arrival at Asmara International Airport.”
According to Meskel, the leaders will have a formal meeting to discuss bilateral ties between Somalia and Eritrea. Later, Farmajo and his delegation will visit various development projects in Eritrea, a country that gained independence in 1993.
“The two heads of state will discuss progress with the bilateral ties, measures for its further consolidation as well as regional development and trends. President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed and his delegation will also visit various development sites and projects,” he added.
The two leaders met early this year in Eritrea, where they signed a tripartite agreement with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. In the agreement, they promised to increase trade within the Horn of Africa by easing some of the restrictions, including but not limited to cross-border companies.
Eritrea has a long history with Somalia, and at one point the two countries temporarily broke through an alleged network of arms smuggling. Mogadishu had maintained that Asmara was helping armed groups, including Al-Shabaab, to smuggle weapons into the country and further trace efforts to restore peace.
But years later, the two nations buried the ax and have since collaborated on trade in cases. Eritrea has also supported the peace processes in Somalia, but does not have African Union missionary forces in the country that have struggled with insecurity for decades.
On Saturday, Farmajo spent most of his time in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, where regional leaders witnessed the signing of a peace agreement between a number of armed groups and the Sudanese transitional government. The North African country will also recover after the ouster of Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
“On behalf of myself and the people of the Federal Republic of Somalia, I wish my deepest congratulations to the people of Sudan for completing the peace process and signing the historic agreement. I commend our fraternal people in Sudan for their solidarity in standing for peace,” he said.
Sudan witnessed protests for most of 2019 and this year, even after the removal of al-Bashir, but an agreement would later be reached through the efforts of the African Union and the United States. The country is currently running under a section of the military and civilian rulers ahead of the election.
Also out of Somalia is Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who on Sunday drove out to Kuwait, the oil-rich Middle East nation that has supported Somalia. The Prime Minister will offer condolences to the country following the death of Emir Sheikh Sabah last week.