Dawit Atinafu (AAU)09/21/2
Peace and development are mutually excusive. It is impossible to think of development without the existence of peace and stability. The one can’t be attained without the attainment of the other.

The government of Ethiopia has given a paramount importance to this universal notion. And this is the basic foundations of Ethiopia’s entire political and economic policies and strategies. The over all national strategies designed and implemented in the last 20 years are based on this crucial philosophy.

But these strategies are not limited only to Ethiopia’s internal affairs.

The leadership in Ethiopia believes in the fact that in order to realize sustainable economic development, peace and stability should not be restricted only at national level. It has to be promoted beyond.

Particularly the stability of the region, where Ethiopia is located, must be guaranteed for it is obvious the impact disturbs Ethiopia’s endeavor to development.

In my observation this strategy is very vital for Ethiopia has a very strong relationship with all of its neighboring countries, in terms of language, culture, history, and natural resources, thus, whatever happens in those countries have a direct or indirect influence on its peace and development efforts. Therefore it is very wise to give greater consideration to building regional peace and stability as well.

According to a document published by the government of Ethiopia, ensuring national peace and development could be questionable unless supported in particular by the prevalence of regional peace and stability. And there must be a healthy relations and co-operations with the countries neighboring Ethiopia and other countries of the continent.

I have also heard the late Prim minister Meles Zenawi mention in a number of occasions that sustainable development could not be achieved unless national as well as regional peace and stability are maintained.

And in the last two decades the government of Ethiopia with the leadership of the late Prim Minister Meles has registered tremendous results in realizing peace and stability both in the country and in the entire Africa specifically in the horn.

The International community has also been recognizing Ethiopia’s positive achievements to peace building efforts in Africa.

One of the achievements made by Ethiopia’s wise leadership which received international recognition and applause is the current encouraging peace process being taken place in Somalia.

As we all know Somalia has been without any proper central government for the last two decades. As a result of this Somalis suffered severely from internal conflicts, famine, and other unimaginably harsh social problems.

In addition to this Somalia was chosen by the international terrorist groups for their training ground as well as base for piracy operations.

The instability in Somalia was also expanded to its neighboring countries notably to Ethiopia. Thus according to many the situation in Somalia affected not only the people of that country but also the international community as a whole.

However, after two decades of civil strife, Somalis are now in the right track to building their war torn country. This country has made an encouraging improvement to bring about a lasting solution to the indescribable human agony, which the whole nation have undergone over the past 21 years. The political and peace building process that is being taken place among Somalis is exceptional for the nation had never reached to this kind of extremely thoughtful, broadly accepted consensus and compromise.

As a result of this wide-ranging consideration Somalis are now able to elect, very peacefully, their parliamentarians and the president of the nation.

Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, was inaugurated last week in the presence of representatives of the international community.

The Inauguration is considered by many as a very crucial moment for Somalia. It is also believed that the current political progress in Somalia would provide a glimmer of hope to peace, democracy and development to the entire Somalis.

The positive progress witnessed particularly over the last year shows how Somalis are now determined to bring to an end the more than two decades of misery and anguish. This new and very strong sprit also signifies that currently Somalis are very keen to building peace and promoting national consensus.

The encouraging peace process would help the country build capacity to fully tackle terrorism, piracy and hunger.

The international community have also expressed its appreciation to the Somali pertinent parties for the dedication they have exhibited to make certain the successful conclusion of the political transition.

Ethiopia played and has been playing an important role in this regard. In my opinion and as many others believe Meles’s leadership have contributed a lot to the new environment which we have been observing in Somalia right now.

Meles’s government with the authorization of the transitional Government of Somalia has twice sent troops into Somalia to fight the extremist elements that were obstacle to a number of peace building efforts made by the international community.

He has also helped to organizing several peace dialogues among Somalia’s political groups, and tirelessly shared his valuable ideas to a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.

In its recent statement the African Union Commission said that the role played by the government of Ethiopia with the leadership of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in the peace process of Somalia is enormous.

The statement said that the support extended by Ethiopia to the Somali authorities and AMISOM in their efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism in Somalia pave way for lasting peace and reconciliation in that country.

According to many political analysts if it was not for Ethiopia, no one could have seen the encouraging peace process and national consensus in today’s Somalia.

In addition to Somalia, Meles’s leadership has also extended a great deal of supports to peace building efforts in many other African countries including Sudan and South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia.

As the US permanent representative to the United Nations, Susan Rice said, in her speech made at the funeral ceremony of the late Prime Minister: “Zenawi worked vigorously to end bitter conflicts from Burundi to Liberia. He was crucial in the negotiations and implementations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan’s tragic civil war”.

She also said Zenawi was the midwife to the birth of world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.

Rice has also appreciated Ethiopia’s extensive support, under Meles Zenawi’s leadership, to the United Nations in its life saving efforts, from preventing and resolving conflicts, and Ethiopia’s contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

As I have tried to mention in the earlier paragraphs, Ethiopia’s engagement and a marvelous success in peace building in Africa, especially in its neighboring countries is based on its national peace and development strategies.

According to the country’s foreign policy and strategy document published several years a go, helping contain political instabilities recurring in Somalia and Sudan in various forms and levels is one of the focus areas of Ethiopia’s Policy.

As indicated in this document Ethiopia’s principle of not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries remains unchanged, Ethiopia, at all possible times and occasions, has been striving to share its best experiences that are believed to help the stated countries attain peace and security and to lend its hands to change the unfavorable political and economical situations in the respective countries.

Peace building strategy which Ethiopia has incorporated in each and every political and development matters, and pursued in the last two decades has enabled it to register encouraging achievements.

Ethiopia’s peace and development strategy designed and implemented under the leadership of Meles, gave the country a significant place in the overall international affairs.

Thanks to the wise leadership of Meles, today our country has been able to be recognized as one of the most important countries of the world.

The acknowledgment, extended to our late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi by a number of head of states and governments as well as by representatives of several international organizations, particularly, to his commitment to strengthen peace and security in Africa manifests how Ethiopia’s peace and development policies and strategies are successful. Those of us who tried to examine the statements and condolence messages delivered by the international community including African head of states and governments following the death of Meles Zeanwi, it would be very clear to understand that Meles’s strategies are being taken as a focal points of the continent’s political as well as peace building agenda.

Almost all leaders and other international dignitaries repeatedly requested the government of Ethiopia to continue its support to help African countries in their efforts to consolidating peace and development following the path of Meles.

Meles was indeed one of the most intelligent and engaging leaders in Africa, as portrayed by many.

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