The leaders of Eritrea and Somalia were in Ethiopia for two days official visit which was initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
They arrived in Gonder, a 16th century important capital of Ethiopia, on Friday to a warm welcome by residents of the city, in addition Prime Minister Abiy and his cabinet ministers.
In their two days stay, President Isayas Afeworki of Eritrea and Mohamed Farmajo of Somalia visited historical sites in Gonder city, Dembia, Bure and Bahir Dar, another important tourist destination in the Amhara regional state where they inaugurated a brand-new hospital, which is named as Tibebe Ghion, before they returned to their countries today.
But that is not why Abiy Ahmed invited the two leaders to Ethiopia. The purpose of the visit was, according to official statement from the office of the Prime Minister, to continue the tripartite talk on regional economic integration and security cooperation.
Those areas of cooperation have seen significant improvement since the start of bilateral talks a few months ago. Ethiopian Airlines, for example, resumed this week commercial flight to Mogadishu after 41 years. In two weeks, time, the airlines will start cargo service which is believed to benefit Somalia as well in terms of providing transportation access to its fish export to Ethiopia and elsewhere.
Ethiopia’s economic relation with Eritrea is already deepening so much so that Ethiopian Revenue Authority is working on regulations to govern commercial activities between the two countries.
However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seem to be thinking, although it is unclear clear if it is his own project, in terms of political integration between the three countries. Djibouti is not apparently mentioned. Yet, his administration great job in brokering peace between Djibouti and Eritrea.
“We need to work on forming a single political economy in the horn of Africa under a single administration,” Abiy Ahmed said during the inaugural ceremony of Tibebe Ghion Hospital.
And he wants Medicine graduates from Bahir Dar to travel to Asmara and Mogadishu to provide volunteer service, apparently as a show of committeemen to the idea of integration. In view of Turkish built ultra-modern hospital facility with Turkish physicians in Mogadishu, the volunteer service might not be very of great impact but Abiy Ahmed wants,seemingly, the positive gesture of it apparently.
It is unclear as to what the positions of the leadership in Asmara and Mogadishu on the political integration agenda.
The viability, and desirability, of it from the stand point of Ethiopia itself is questionable in view of Ethiopia’s political condition itself due to pervasive ethnic based violence in different parts of the country due to the ideology that the ruling coalition pursued in the past 27 years.
However, confederation states of East Africa is not strange talk to many politicized Ethiopians as there have been rumors for many years now that western powers have interest in forming that kind of political arrangement in the Horn of Africa.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena