By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ethiopian Government and Somaliland on access to sea port for military bases has become a major discussion point among the people.
Ahadu FM 94.3 Radio approached a legal expert regarding how the legitimacy and effectiveness of the agreement can be seen in terms of international law. There are people who say that the agreement signed between the two parties is not legally binding for the fact that Somaliland is still considered as part of Somalia. Though it has stayed as an independent country for about three decades, it has not yet received international recognition as an independent nation.
It was said that through the agreement Ethiopia will secure a 12 kilometre sea port access for its naval forces for 50 years.
The legal expert, Tigabu Desalegn, said that although the agreement reached with Somaliland is considered to be important for Ethiopia, the legal gaps or the disputes that might come up with the passage of time cannot be arbitrated by international law as Somaliland has not yet been recognized as a sovereign nation. However, based on the principle of ‘give and take’, Ethiopia may take the upper hand to take advantage of the situation. But the deal may create disagreements with Somalia, the legal expert said.
However, a political science teacher, Gutema Daniel, said that there is no reason for the agreement to cause any significant problems to Ethiopia and despite its failure to win international recognition, Somaliland has stayed as an “independent nation” for many years.
Moreover, he admitted that there might be some misunderstanding in the diplomatic relations with Somalia as a country. But concerning the universal law, he does not believe that it will bring about a serious problem.
The Somalia Government expressed dismay over the agreement signed between the Ethiopian Government and Somaliland, which has not yet been recognized as an independent nation. It said in a statement it released concerning the issue that the agreement violates its sovereignty and has no legal foundation.
The Ethiopian government said that having access to a leased “military base” is a major diplomatic success for Ethiopia.
Somaliland expects in return that Ethiopia recognizes it as an independent nation. But some are expressing concern that this decision is not regarded as a wise diplomatic move as Somaliland has not yet been given recognition by countries including AU and UN.
Meanwhile, the government of Somalia said that the agreement signed between the two parties is not legally binding and it is considered as a move that claims the territorial part of the country. The Somalia government has reportedly called its ambassador from Ethiopia at the wake of the agreement.
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