Ethiopia: Eritrea “manoeuvring” in South Sudan

April 13, 2011 (ETHIOPIA) – During a visit from a Norwegian delegation to discuss regional issues with the Ethiopian government, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister accused Eritrea of interfering in South Sudanese affairs.

Norwegian Defense Minister Grete Faremo (Getty)

The delegation which visited Ethiopia between 12 and 13 April was headed by the Norwegian minister of defence, Grethe Faremo and met with the Ethiopian deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn.

According to foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Dina Mufti, they discussed bilateral agendas and the situations in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea.

Hailemariam briefed the delegation on Ethiopia’s cooperation with South Sudan and the post-referendum situation. Hailemariam accused arch-foe, Eritrea of ‘‘interference in South Sudan’’

“Eritrea is manoeuvring and intervening in the affairs of South Sudan” he said.

He called up on the Norwegian government and the international community to press Eritrea to desist from intervening into the Sudanese affairs.

He further explained Ethiopia’s latest shift in policy towards the Eritrean government. The Ethiopian government has recently suggested it may be forced to take military action against Eritrea to stop what it describes as continuing “terrorist acts”.

Regarding Somalia, he said the Transitional Federal Government army and African Union Mission to Somalia peacekeeping forces have performed successful offensive attacks on the Islamist insurgency group, Al-Shabaab. Ethiopia has played significant role in resolving differences between Somaliland and Puntland, he said

The meeting discussed the situation in Libya where Hailemariam said the Ethiopian government supports the stance of the African Union and UN.

The visit of the Minister of Defense is the fifth high-level visit to Ethiopia from Norway in less than a year, following visits by Norway’s Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Environment and Development as well as State secretary for Foreign Affairs.

Grete Faremo is a veteran Norwegian politician in the Labour Party having served in three different governments as minister of International Development (1990-1992), minister of Justice (1992-1996), minister of oil and energy (1996) and has been minister of defense since 2009.


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