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Ethiopia, Kenya to discuss sending troops to Somalia

November 17, 2011

“We will see, they’re invited to discuss,” Nissa Roguiai said about whether Kenya’s troop offer would be covered in the meeting.

Roguiai said members would also address a possible commitment of troops by Ethiopia to Somalia.

“It’s only discussions, no consultations will be made, we’re waiting for a commitment,” she told AFP before the meeting.

If Ethiopia does commit troops, it is not clear whether they would be deployed under the auspices of AMISOM or the regional body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Ethiopia previously invaded Somalia in 2006 with US blessing, but pulled out in 2009 after sparking a bloody uprising and guerrilla attacks.

Kenya’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Monica Juma, would not comment on her country’s troop offer as she arrived at the meeting.

“I have not been in there yet,” she said as she entered the chamber.

Last month, Kenya sent troops across the border into southern Somalia to fight the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab after a spate of attacks including kidnappings blamed on the extremists on Kenyan soil.

It is not clear that whether any Kenyan troops joining AMISOM would consist of forces already inside southern Somalia, or if the contribution would be of a separate new batch of troops.

The AU force, currently comprising 9,700 troops from Uganda and Burundi, is tasked with protecting the Western-backed government from the extremist Shebab militia.

The AU has repeatedly called for the swift deployment of the 3,000 more troops authorised by the United Nations last year, especially after Shebab pulled out of fixed positions in the war-torn capital Mogadishu in August.

In addition to the conflict in Somalia, member states are expected to discuss upcoming elections in Democratic Republic of Congo.

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