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Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia in talks on economic integration

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) said on Wednesday that he is scheduled to meet his counterparts from Eritrea and Ethiopia for a two-day tripartite talk on economic integration.

Farmajo said the Sept. 6-7 meeting in Asmara, Eritrea will focus on strengthening the economic security and stability of the region.

"Somalia seeks to play a key role in economic and social integration of the Horn of Africa to foster trade and investment, and to improve connectivity between the people and businesses of the Horn," Farmajo said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The Somali leader said his vision is to promote free trade flow, and economic cooperation among all the countries of the Horn of Africa.

Farmajo also said he is leading efforts to consolidate gains made at the just concluded Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing by facilitating the prospect of a tripartite agreement on economic integration between the three Horn of Africa countries.

"Somalia’s ambition to take the lead in facilitating a robust Horn of Africa trade bloc would foster stronger economic stability and development for the Horn nations," said Farmajo.


Ethiopian air traffic controllers end week-long strike

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian air traffic controllers on Wednesday returned to their jobs amid the arrest of nine people on suspicion of attempting to disrupt international flights and coordinating strike.

As the Ethiopian Aviation Authority confirmed on Wednesday the return of air traffic controllers to their duties, the nine arrested are currently under investigation concerning their involvement in the strike, which the Ethiopian Aviation Authority affirmed was "illegal."

Despite reports that the strike has affected flights to and from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, one of Africa’s busiest airports, the Ethiopian Aviation Authority and the Ethiopian Airlines Group have downplayed similar reports.

Amid the strike of Ethiopian air controllers, their Kenyan counterparts had raised safety concerns concerning international flight bound to Ethiopia’s airspace.

"Aircraft operating in and out of Addis Ababa are in grave danger as the situation continues to deteriorate," Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association said as their Ethiopian counterparts commenced the week-long strike.

Ethiopia’s Civil Aviation Authority, however, rejected concerns regarding the safety of Ethiopian airspace despite the strike.

The authority said in a press statement that it "fully and categorically rejects the false and baseless statements circulated by the Kenyan Air Traffic Controllers Association in their circular of 30 August 2018 regarding the safety of Ethiopian airspace following the illegal strike of air traffic controllers (ATCs) in Ethiopia."

"The Area Control Center (ACC) in Addis Ababa is being manned by adequate number of well-trained, highly capable instructors and professionals," the authority said.

A similar strike by Ethiopian air traffic controllers in April led to the suspension of scores of flights in and out of the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

Ethiopian Airlines Group also on Monday reassured that "the Ethiopian airspace remains very safe and highly secured even after the illegal strike of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation air traffic controllers."

Ethiopia’s flag carrier further stressed that all its scheduled and unscheduled flights and other airlines operating to and from Ethiopia have been operating smoothly.



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