Ethiopian Prime Minister pays historic visit to Somalia

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A delegation led by the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu amid tight security.

Ahmed was received at the airport by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

In a message posted on Twitter, Farmajo told the Ethiopian prime minister: “Welcome to Mogadishu your Excellency it’s an honor to host you and your delegation. I am confident you’ll find your stay comfortable and joyous.”

The chief of staff to Ahmed also tweeted: “M Abiy brought the message of Ethiopian solidarity and friendship with the resilient people of Somalia.”

After receiving guard of honor at the airport, Ahmed was driven to the presidential palace in Mogadishu where the two leaders are holding talks.

Security has been tightened with the deployment of Somali troops along major roads in Mogadishu. All major roads leading to the airport and the palace have been closed to the public.

Ethiopia has more than 4,200 troops who are officially serving as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia. In addition, several thousand Ethiopian troops operate in various parts of Somalia outside of the AMISOM mandate but under a bilateral agreement with Somalia.

Ahmed is the second Ethiopian leader to visit Somalia. In June 2007, former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi visited Mogadishu after his soldiers helped the Somali government topple the Islamic Courts Union that briefly ruled the capital.

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