MOGADISHU, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- A high-level delegation from Eritrea arrived in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Monday to help improve bilateral relations between the countries, officials said.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire received the delegation led by Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh following invitation by Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) after his historic visit to the Eritrean capital of Asmara late July.
In his welcome remarks, Khaire stressed that the current visit and the previous one by President Farmajo to Eritrea bear significance on bilateral relations and show how the countries are determined to advance their cooperation.
"The visits are set to expand Somali-Eritrean friendship," he said, stressing that a stable Horn of Africa region is important for the development of all countries in the region. He added that Somalia is ready to take its due role in this regard.
On his part, Saleh said his country is interested in developing cordial relationship with Somalia, adding his visit was a follow up with his Somalia counterpart what the leaders of the two countries agreed late last month.
Saleh reiterated Eritrea's willingness to resume diplomatic and economic ties with Somalia and later exchanged views concerning the possibility to strengthen cooperation in various spheres of activity.
Both Eritrea and Somalia have not had diplomatic ties for nearly 15 years, in particular because of Asmara's alleged support for the al-Shabab Islamists, affiliated with al-Qaida and who are fighting to topple the Somali government.
President Farmajo called for the lifting of UN sanctions on Eritrea over its alleged support of al-Shabab extremist group, which Eritrea has long denied.
The remarks prompted the Djibouti government to criticize the Somali government's decision calling for the lifting of the UN sanctions on Eritrea.