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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopian Gov't Engages Diplomats Regarding Somaliland MoU

Ethiopian Gov’t Engages Diplomats Regarding Somaliland MoU

Ethiopian gov't briefing
During the briefing session (Photo : MFAE)

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Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday that it conducted a briefing for the Diplomatic Community in Addis Ababa concerning the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed between Abiy Ahmed’s government and Somaliland government.

A news update from the Ministry did not specify the number of diplomatic missions that attended the briefing.

Redwan Hussien, Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Security Advisor, addressed the diplomats. He stated that “the MoU will allow Ethiopia to diversify its options regarding access to the sea and ports. Furthermore, Ethiopia will have an important role in the peace and security of the region in tandem with ensuring its survival.” 

Gedion Timotheos, Ethiopia’s Minister for Justice, also participated in the briefing.  He is cited as saying “that the MoU is not only about access to the sea or port but it also includes the vast areas of cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, technology, agriculture, and tourism.”

The briefing also highlighted Ethiopia’s pursuit of alternative access to the sea through peaceful means. Taye Atske Selassie, Foreign Policy advisor to Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, said that “Ethiopia advocates peaceful means in accessing the sea and gaining ports,” as cited in the news update from the MFAE. 

The MoU signed between the Abiy Ahmed Administration and Somaliland has triggered reactions. Somalia expressed anger, with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud calling for an emergency meeting, labeling the MoU a violation of Somalia’s sovereignty and predicting a resurgence of the militant Al-Shabab group.

Egypt, who announced that there would be no more GERD negotiation after the fourth round of negotiation ended in disagreement, seems to be seizing the opportunity to forge a military alliance with Somalia. Egypt has been lobbying for a military base near the Ethiopian border.  There were reports that it has tried with South Sudan and Somalia in the past. The Somalian President is reportedly traveling to Egypt this week. 

Tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia have escalated post-MoU. The United States issued a statement emphasizing the importance of respecting Somalia’s sovereignty and urging both countries to peacefully resolve their differences.

The African Union and European Union have also issued statements urging respect for Somalia’s sovereignty.

The Ethiopian government announced plans to finalize a comprehensive agreement with Somaliland within a month. Somaliland seeks recognition as a sovereign state in exchange for granting Ethiopia a 20-kilometer military base and commercial maritime access along the Gulf of Aden coast under a 50-year lease.

While pro-government Ethiopians (reportedly over 13 million members in the ruling party) support the MoU, the majority of Ethiopians believe that Abiy Ahmed’s administration is introducing more problems without resolving existing ones.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I suggest Somalia take this as an opportunity and make its vast area of seashore available for port facility investors that includes Ethiopia. The talks that have begun between Somalia and Somaliland should not be interrupted because of this MOU. Somaliland is now what it is, efficiently, peacefully and democratically run entity. It has become the envy of the entire Horn of Africa. My personal preference is somehow it stays with Somalia and its current arrangement of governance in tact. If Somalia turns into a peaceful, stable and democratic, the need to stay separated would be a moot point, redundant. But for now, Somaliland is a diplomatic nightmare, something you can’t live with or without it. This is all the result of a serious political error that those decision making leaders in the then British Somaliland committed in 1960.

    Egypt and its fiefdom The Arab League have started beating the drums of war as expected. Somalia should this with a good pinch of salt. Somalis are not Arabs to start with. It should sit down with its black folk neighbors and sort things out with Ethiopia first and foremost respecting the charters of both AU and UN. When someone keeps complaining his country’s sovereignty is being violated should not be the one violating other’s sovereignty.

  2. I also wonder how the people and government of Djibouti have reacted to this MOU. I don’t expect the Ethiopian government officials just jumped on this deal without the knowledge of the leaders of Djibouti. How about the nearby powers of Saudi Arabia and UAE? UAE already has a huge stake in the port of Berbera. This is becoming more and more interesting. Please also note that both Saudi Arabia and UAE have invested in projects worth billions of US dollars in Ethiopia. I am not ready to believe that the officials in Addis/Finfine made this decision without having a sit down with officials in Djibouti, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. I am not also ready to conclude that every official in Addis/Finfine is a mad man!

  3. I may also add my long held admiration to my Djiboutian brothers and sisters for the wise political decision they made in 1977. All glory to them!!!

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