Eritrea/Ethiopia/Somalia: Meeting between Minister Dini and the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia

Report
from Government of Italy
Published on 08 Dec 1999
Rome, 8 December 1999 - The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, received the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Seyoum Mesfin, today at the Farnesina. The talks with Mr. Mesfin, who is currently visiting Europe, were also attended by Under-Secretary of State Rino Serri.

With regard to the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea - an issue that was the focal point of the meeting - Minister Dini reaffirmed that Italy and the European Union fully backs the action taken by the Algerian Presidency of the OAU. He expressed the hope the OAU's plan will be implemented as soon as possible and reiterated that the fighting must not resume while consultations for a solution to the conflict are underway.

Minister Dini underlined concerns that the peace and stability of the whole of Africa is being threatened by events in the region of the Horn of Africa and the controversy between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He reiterated the need for both sides to make the utmost effort to reach a peaceful settlement.

Minister Mesfin extended his thanks for the very active mediation support given by Italy and the European Union, and said he hoped that pressure could also be put on the government in Asmara to moderate its action.

Mention was also made of the crisis in Somalia, for the solution of which Rome and Addis Ababa maintain close consultations. As President of the IGAD Partners' Forum, the Italian side also observed that our country supports the approach to the Somalian question that was approved by the Summit of the organization in Djibouti on November 26 last. Assurance was given that Italy will fully collaborate in the framework of the Standing Committee for Somalia in drawing up the details of the peace plan on the basis of the ideas promoted by the Djibouti President Guelleh.

On a bilateral level, underlining Italy's commitment in Ethiopia, Minister Dini highlighted the importance of peace for cooperation programmes and economic collaboration to be achieved fully.