The government of Somalia has reportedly called for an emergency cabinet meeting in response to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland. It is expected to take place on Tuesday.
According to Tesfanews, Eritrean news sources, the cabinet meeting is anticipated to “address and make decisions concerning the reported agreement between the Somaliland administration (northern regions of the country) and Ethiopia.”
Some Somali politicians and activists perceive Abiy Ahmed’s actions as a violation of “the sovereignty of the Somali nation.” Abdirahman Abdishakur sees it as “disregard for the rules of the UN, AU & IGAD, which aim to protect the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of member states.”
Former Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo stated, “The agreement signed by Ethiopia with Somaliland today is a serious concern for Somalia and the whole of Africa. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the anchor for regional stability and bilateral cooperation. The Somali government must respond appropriately.”
The MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland has raised concerns that it could trigger large-scale conflict in the region.
Redwan Hussien, Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Security Advisor, revealed on Monday that Ethiopia and Somaliland could finalize an agreement on access to the Seaport on the Gulf of Aden within one month.
The two parties have identified areas for cooperation, including in defense and intelligence areas. Ethiopia is set to acquire 20 kilometers of stretches of land along Somaliland’s coastline in the Gulf of Aden, which Ethiopia will use as a military base and commercial maritime based on a renewable 50-year lease. In return, Somaliland is expected to receive recognition as a sovereign country and shares from Ethio-Telecom and Ethiopian Airlines—the exact percentage of which is yet to be revealed.
Ethiopian State Media is covering the development in a way that portrays Ethiopia as having “secured access to the sea,” which seems inaccurate—at least considering that the agreement is yet to be signed. When it is signed, it will be a rental agreement.
Reports suggest that Djibouti, like Somalia, is outraged by the agreement between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihe, signed in Addis Ababa on January 1, 2024. The latter was in Djibouti, along with Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, just a few days before heading to Addis Ababa to sign the agreement, and they did not seem to anticipate the agreement.
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