Somalia Retracts Expulsion Order, Welcomes Back Ethiopian Forces

Somalia U-Turns on Ethiopian Troop Withdrawal from Country

MOGADISHU, Somalia – In an unexpected twist, Somalia’s federal government has reversed its previous decision to expel Ethiopian troops post-ATMIS. This marks a stark departure from last week’s insistence on the withdrawal of Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).

Mogadishu had recently criticized Ethiopia’s presence in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), especially after Ethiopia forged a contentious deal with North Western of Somalia, North Western of Somalia being an autonomous region in Somalia. The Somali government branded the ENDF presence as ‘unnecessary and undesirable.’

Somalia argued that Ethiopia disrespects its territorial integrity and sovereignty, vowing to oust the troops by the end of the ATMIS mandate in December 2024 as per the Somali Transition Plan (STP), crafted by the transition team.

However, on Thursday, it was revealed that Somalia is now seeking Tanzania’s help in mediating “constructive dialogue” with Ethiopia concerning the phase III drawdown of ATMIS troops.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs penned a letter stating Somalia does not oppose Addis Ababa’s involvement in post-ATMIS operations, whether as part of AU troops or non-AU Ethiopian forces. The Somali government remains optimistic about defeating Al-Shabaab by the end of the year.

“We are eager to engage in talks with Ethiopia, confident that Tanzania’s mediation will be crucial in this effort,” the letter reads. It has since leaked to the media.

The original decision to pull out ATMIS troops by December faced backlash from officials in Jubaland and Southwest states, where Ethiopian soldiers are key allies against Al-Shabaab. Ethiopia remains a significant security and development partner for Somalia.

However, relations soured after Ethiopia inked a pact with North Western of Somalia, granting it 20 kilometers of Red Sea coastline for a naval base and port. In return, Ethiopia would recognize North Western of Somalia’s sovereignty.

The situation has spurred international calls for a ceasefire. The Somali government accuses Ethiopia of annexing its territory contrary to international laws and norms.

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