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Is political integration in the Horn of Africa possible?

18 43 34
06.04.2019

Following his recent efforts to achieve normalisation with Eritrea, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed embarked on a shuttle diplomacy mission across the Horn of Africa. Since the signing of the landmark June 2018 peace agreement between the two long-warring nations, Abiy held several bilateral and tripartite summits both in Addis Ababa and in other Horn of Africa capitals to help resolve some of the region's deep-rooted problems and kick-start a process of political integration.

In September 2018, a tripartite cooperation agreement was signed between Abiy, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo following a meeting in Ethiopia.

On February 20, 2019, Ahmed met Muse Bihi Abdi, leader of the breakaway northern Somalia territory of Somaliland, in Addis Ababa to strengthen bilateral ties, discuss regional security issues and try to meditate in its dispute with the central government in Mogadishu. Somali President Farmajo, who was reportedly invited to the meeting, refused to participate, but later voiced his administration's appreciation of Abiy's mediation efforts and Bihi's willingness to work with the Somali government in a tweet .

On March 4, Abiy met Afwerki and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir in Juba to further the Intergovernmental Authority of Development-led peace process in the country.

Three days later, Abiy, Farmajo and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta got together in Nairobi to try to resolve the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia. However, this meeting failed to produce a tangible solution, with Mogadishu making it clear that they will wait for the decision by the International Court of Justice.

While Abiy's shuttle diplomacy received praise, admiration and positive media coverage both in the region and across the world, it clearly failed to produce any practical results on the ground and even led to some new concerns and tensions.

The tripartite cooperation agreement between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, for instance, has........

© Al Jazeera