Ethiopia Signs MoU With Somaliland to Diversify Seaport

Ethiopia signed a port deal with the region of Somaliland, allowing it access to the Red Sea port of Berbera. The agreement, signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, has a strong reaction from the Somali government, which considers Somaliland an integral part of its territory.

Somaliland to Diversify Seaport

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Somaliland, a self-declared independent region since 1991, has been seeking international recognition without much success.

Despite functioning as a separate entity with its own government, currency, and passports, Somaliland’s sovereignty remains unrecognized globally.

While the full details of the agreement remain unclear, it is reported that Ethiopia will gain access to the port of Berbera and a military base in exchange for certain benefits to Somaliland.

Ethiopian officials have yet to confirm the specifics of the deal, leading to uncertainty and speculation about the terms and concessions made by both parties.

The Somali government condemned the deal as a clear violation of its sovereignty. The cabinet declared the agreement null and void with no legal basis and announced the recall of its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultations.

Somalia is now appealing to international bodies, including the United Nations, African Union, the Arab League, and regional organizations like IGAD, to support its uphold its right to defend sovereignty.

Ethiopia has long access to the Red Sea to alleviate its landlocked status. The agreement is seen as a move to secure sea access and boost economic prospects.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who views sea access as for Ethiopia’s existence, has not yet provided detailed comments on the agreement.

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However, his national security adviser, Redwan Hussien, mentioned for Ethiopia to establish a leased military base in Berbera.

The agreement with Ethiopia, which may include recognition in the future. Somalia’s appeal to international bodies shows its determination to safeguard its territorial integrity, while Ethiopia’s pursuit of Red Sea access underlines its geopolitical aspirations.

Somalia’s assertion that the agreement endangers regional peace shows the balance in the area. Former leaders within Somalia, including Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre and President Mohamed Farmaajo, have expressed serious concerns and called the deal a provocation.

For Ethiopia, gaining access to the Red Sea has been a long-standing imperative. Since Eritrea seceded in 1993, Ethiopia has faced challenges in maritime trade, relying primarily on the port of Djibouti.

The agreement with Somaliland provides an alternative route and reduces Ethiopia’s dependence on Djibouti.

Somaliland, a region with a population of 4.5 million, sees the agreement as a game-changer. While the exact benefits remain unclear, reports suggest international recognition and economic gains.

Just days after Somalia’s central government agreed to resume dialogue with Somaliland, a region seeking full statehood since 1991.

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The world, including the United Nations, African Union, the Arab League, and the regional East African grouping IGAD, is being called upon by Somalia to support its stance against what it perceives as a threat to its sovereignty.

Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre reassured the Somali people, pledging the government’s commitment to defending the country.

He called for unity among the populace and urged calm in the face of this perceived challenge to Somalia’s territorial integrity.

The speaker of Somalia’s upper house, Abdi Hashi, addressed the non-negotiable nature of Somalia’s sovereignty, stating that “the sea of Somalia is not an animal that anyone can bring to the market.”

The agreement has revealed divisions within the region, with Somaliland viewing it as a diplomatic milestone.

President Muse Bihi Abdi claimed that the deal includes a commitment from Ethiopia to recognize Somaliland as an independent country in the future. However, this claim has not been confirmed by Ethiopian officials.

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