Tuesday July 31, 2018
Eritrea, which signed on Monday a deal with Somalia to establish
diplomatic ties, has long been accused of supporting Islamic militants
who are seeking to topple the interim government in Mogadishu.
agreement follows another recent flurry of diplomacy in the region,
between Eritrea and Ethiopia, marking a new era for relations between
countries in the Horn of Africa.
Here is some background on more than ten years of tensions.
Islamic tribunals in Somalia
July-August 2006 Somalia's transition government accuses Eritrea of
sending troops and weapons to the Islamic tribunals militia that have
taken control of Mogadishu and a large part of southern and central
Somalia, which shares a large part of its border with Ethiopia.Eritrea
rejects the accusations, which claim it is backing Islamists in Somalia
to carry out an indirect fight against its Ethiopian rival.
Ethiopia supports the Somali transitional government. Its relations
with Eritrea have been very tense since a bloody war between the two
countries from 1998 to 2000.
A report from the UN in November 2006 states Eritrea sent 2 000 fighters to Somalia to join forces with the Islamic tribunals.
December the Ethiopian army invades Somalia and pushes out the Islamic
tribunals in a matter of days. Leaders and supporters of the tribunals
take refuge in several countries in the region.
invasion crushes the Islamist administration but sparks a bloody
uprising and spurs the emergence of the even more radical Al Shabaab
In January 2009, Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed becomes president of a transitional administration in Somalia,
turning against the regime in Eritrea that had once been an ally.
May that year for the first time he accuses Eritrea of arming and
financing Islamists that have launched a major offensive to topple him.
UN Security Council in 2009 imposes an arms embargo and targeted
sanctions on Eritrea for its alleged support of the Shabaab militants.
In 2011 a UN surveillance team affirms that Eritrea arms and assists the Shabaab. Asmara denies it is backing the rebels.
In 2016 the UN Security Council renews sanctions on Eritrea, but five members from the 15-member council abstain.
Russia, Angola, Egypt and Venezuela point to a report by sanctions
monitors who say there is no evidence Eritrea is backing Shabaab
militants in Somalia.
Ethiopia calls on the UN to lift the sanctions on Eritrea.
On July 28, 2018 Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed arrives in Asmara for an official three-day visit.
is ready to write a new chapter of its relations with Eritrea," a
spokesperson for the Somali president says on Twitter.
later Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Mohamed sign in Asmara a
deal to establish diplomatic ties after more than a decade of tensions.