Somalia, Eritrea agree to establish diplomatic ties

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Somalia, Eritrea agree to establish diplomatic ties

NAIROBI: The presidents of Somalia and Eritrea on Monday signed an agreement to establish diplomatic ties after over a decade of animosity, in the latest fast-track rapprochement in the Horn of Africa.
"The two countries will establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors," said a "joint declaration on brotherly relations" signed in Asmara by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
Mohamed's three-day visit to Asmara coincides with an extraordinary peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia -- part of dizzying change in a region burdened by war, proxy conflicts, isolation and iron-fisted rule.
Once close, Somalia and Eritrea fell out over a decade ago as Asmara stood accused of backing Islamist militants on Somali soil in a proxy war with Ethiopia.
Eritrea long denied this, but was slapped with UN sanctions over its alleged backing of Al-Shabaab in 2009.
"Eritrea strongly supports the political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia as well as the efforts of the people and government of Somalia to restore the country’s rightful stature and achieve the lofty aspirations of its people," read the declaration.
The document, posted on Eritrea's information ministry website, also said the two nations "will endeavor to forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural as well as defense and security cooperation."
They will in addition "work in unison to foster regional peace, stability and economic integration."


Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

Updated 50 sec ago
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Bosnia arrests Syrian, Algerian migrants with weapons

SARAJEVO: Two migrants, a Syrian and an Algerian national found in possession of firearms were arrested in the Bosnian capital at the weekend, police said Monday.
It was the first time that police found weapons with migrants who have been passing through the Balkan country in growing numbers since the start of the year as they head toward western Europe.
“For the time being we do not know what they were planning to do with (the weapons),” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“The two men tried to flee when police asked them for documents but they were quickly arrested,” spokeswoman Suvada Kuldija said.
The arrests were carried out on Sunday evening.
Police searched several locations linked to the two where they found and seized a “rifle, four guns, a silencer and more than 100 bullets of different calibres,” the spokeswoman added.
The 34-year-old Syrian national was officially registered with the authorities in charge of migrants, while police were verifying the status of the 23-year-old Algerian.
Since the start of the year, 15,000 migrants trying to reach western Europe have been registered in Bosnia, a minister said Sunday.
So far the influx does not compare with the hundreds of thousands who arrived in Europe via the ‘Balkans Route’ in 2015 and 2016, fleeing war and poverty across Africa and the Middle East.
The route was effectively closed in March 2016.
Now, most of the migrants, who enter Bosnia from Serbia or Montenegro, stay for a few days in Sarajevo before heading toward the northwestern town of Bihac.
Bihac is on the border with Europan Union member Croatia, where they try to sneak into the bloc.
Since the 1990s wars that marked the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Balkans have been considered a center for arms trafficking.
Militants who have carried out attacks in western Europe in recent years are also believed to have passed through.