Ethiopia’s administration confirmed it’s encountering global pressure to annul its pact with Somaliland. Despite this, Ethiopia’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister said they remain committed to upholding its agreement with Somaliland.
The Foreign Minister’s comments came during the opening of Diplomacy Week, an annual meeting of Ethiopian ambassadors, heads of mission and officials, which began on Thursday.
He added that Ethiopia’s foreign policy, focusing on economic-centred diplomacy, has been instrumental in regional integration and managing relations with neighbouring countries.
The MoU involves Somaliland leasing 20 kilometres (about 12 miles) of its coastline to landlocked Ethiopia. In return, Somaliland is set to gain shares in Ethiopian Airlines and potentially receive formal recognition as an independent state.
Despite regional opposition, the Somaliland government has reaffirmed its commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia. Amidst this backdrop, Somaliland’s Defense Minister resigned in protest against the agreement. Meanwhile, Major General Nuh Ismail Tani, Somaliland’s Chief of Defense Staff, held a meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopia’s Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, focusing on military collaboration.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud issued a strong caution regarding the agreement. He vowed that Somalia would fiercely protect its maritime territories using all available resources. President Mohamud recently engaged in discussions with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara. Following these talks, Egypt extended an invitation to both Presidents Mohamud and Afwerki for a meeting in Cairo.
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, currently the rotating chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has arranged for an extraordinary session to address the growing tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia to be held in Uganda on Thursday.
The IGAD meeting comes on the heels of the Somali government’s demand for a public apology from its Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu. Somalia criticized Gebeyehu for not denouncing Ethiopia’s alleged violation of Somalia’s sovereignty in his statement. Gebeyehu called on Somalia and Ethiopia to work cooperatively towards a peaceful and mutually agreeable solution. Somalia argued that Gebeyehu’s remarks seemed biased in favour of Ethiopia, casting doubt on his impartiality.
Major global players, including the European Union, the Arab League, the OIC, the United States, Britain, China, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, have advocated for Somalia’s territorial unity.