Toronto – (borkena) – On Thursday, the Somali government issued a statement in response to the African Union Political Affairs Peace and Security resolution concerning the tension between Ethiopia and Somalia.
The government of Somalia stated “There is no space for mediation unless Ethiopia retracts its illegal MOU and reaffirm the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia…”
Accusing Ethiopia of violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, the government claimed, “Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity have been violated by Ethiopia when it signed an illegal MOU” with what it referred to as the “Northern region” of Somalia.
In a resolution passed this week, the African Union Political Affairs Peace and Security called on “the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia to exercise restraint, de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue towards finding a peaceful resolution of the matter, in the spirit of African solutions to African problems…”
Ethiopia and Somalia signed a cooperation MOU on January 1, 2024. Once finalized, the two countries are set to cooperate in various areas, including Defense. In exchange for recognition of the Somaliland government, among other things, the Ethiopian government is to obtain a 20-kilometer rental coastland from Somaliland.
The development has heightened tension in the region, with states and multilateral actors, including the African Union, expressing concern that the region could be heading towards conflict. While affirming the sovereignty of Somalia, they have been urging Ethiopia and Somalia to resolve their differences through dialogue.
Somalia has been engaging in political and diplomatic mobilization against Ethiopia, with Egypt seizing the opportunity to blame Ethiopia. Besides mobilizing the Arab League, which criticized Ethiopia, it has invited the leaders of Somalia and Eritrea to Cairo.
This week, Somalia redirected an Ethiopian Airlines chartered flight to Hargeisa after denying access to Somali airspace. The plane reportedly carried high-level Ethiopian government officials to Somaliland. Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed that Ethiopian Airlines flight was turned back to Addis Ababa. However, the Ethiopian government has not remarked on the development; it did not confirm or deny that Ethiopian authorities were in the plane that was denied Somalian airspace.
There are also signs that Somalia is making preparations for military action if the MOU between Ethiopia and Somaliland is ratified. A considerable number of Ethiopians have expressed disagreement with Abiy Ahmed’s decision to sign the MOU with Somaliland. Some opposition parties – notably the Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA) have supported the MoU.
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