Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until ‘AU takeover’

Updated 29 November 2012
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Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until ‘AU takeover’

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian troops will remain in Somalia until African Union forces fighting rebels can take over, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said yesterday, as he met with his Somali counterpart.
“We are waiting for AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) force to come and replace us, and until we get that assurance then we will be waiting there,” he told reporters. Hailemariam, speaking alongside newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on his first official visit to the Ethiopian capital, gave no timeline for a pull out of troops.
Mohamud said that the Shabab is “literally defeated” — although many experts say it remains a potent threat — and also warned foreign fighters with the extremists to leave Somalia.
“We have no relationship, and we do not intend to have one, with the foreign fighters in Somalia,” Mohamud said. “The only option for them is to leave the country.”
Ethiopian troops and tanks invaded Somalia in November 2011 to attack Al-Qaeda linked Shabab insurgents, capturing key towns including Baidoa.
At the same time, anti-Shabab Somali forces and a 17,000-strong AU force have been also battling the rebels, and are seeking to link up with areas held by Ethiopia.
Addis Ababa — long seen as a traditional enemy of Somalia — is a controversial presence in Somalia. Ethiopia entered Somalia in a 2006 US-backed invasion, but was driven out three years later by a bitter insurgency.
War-torn Somalia has been in chaos since the fall of President Siad Barre in 1991.


India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Updated 22 September 2018
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India’s Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

  • Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
  • Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”

DELHI: India’s prime minister was under fire over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after comments by former French President François Hollande. Hollande was quoted as saying Narendra Modi’s government had influenced the choice of a local partner.
Indian political parties have been gunning for Modi over the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale planes from Dassault Aviation estimated to be worth $8.7 billion, saying he had overpaid for the planes and had not been transparent.
The opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, spent the past year alleging that the deal is a scam, in which India is overpaying for jets and the government is allowing a private company — billionaire Indian businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defense — to benefit instead of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
On Friday, Hollande, who cleared the intergovernmental deal when he was in office, was quoted as saying New Delhi had put pressure on Dassault to choose Reliance.
“We had no choice. We took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was reported as telling the French news service Mediapart, fueling a political storm in India.
The Indian government, however, has insisted all along that it had nothing to do with Dassault’s decision to work with Reliance Defense.
Under Indian defense procurement rules, a foreign firm must invest at least 30 percent of the contract in India to help to build up its manufacturing base and wean off imports.
HAL was the sole contender for being the local partner of Dassault Aviation, but when the deal was sealed in 2015 during Modi’s Paris trip the Reliance Defense procured the contract .
“The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to ...Anil Ambani,” said Mr. Gandhi in a tweet.
Gandhi further tweeted: “The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a ... SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defense forces. Modi Ji you dishonored the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India’s soul.”
Gandhi repeated the charge in a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
The BJP, however, says that there is no corruption.
“The fact that two sovereign heads of States negotiated a deal means that there is no room for corruption,” said Sudesh Verma, BJP spokesperson.
Talking to Arab News Verma emphasized that “the highest integrity was maintained in the deal. Now the Congress is not talking of corruption but favoritism. Merely by saying that Reliance Defense was favored by us would not cut any ice. These are insinuations and are irresponsible.”
Political analysts say that the BJP is “losing in the perception war.”
“No matter what the indian government says that perception is that the Indian government gave the offset contract to Anil Ambani, a guy who has no history of producing defense equipment,” says Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi based political analyst.
He added: “The halo around Modi has been severely diminished after the recent revelations. This is something which it would be very difficult to live it down now.”