The European Union urged respect for Somalia’s sovereignty on Tuesday after Ethiopia signed a controversial deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland.
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi on Monday, grants Ethiopia access to the Red Sea port of Berbera and a leased military base.
The EU said in a statement that it “would like to remind the importance of respecting the unity, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia pursuant of its constitution, the Charters of the African Union and the United Nations.”
“This is key for the peace and stability of the entire Horn of Africa region,” an EU spokesperson said in the statement.
Somalia’s cabinet and parliament strongly objected to the agreement, saying it endangers the region’s stability.
Speaking at an emergency parliament session in Mogadishu on Tuesday, President Mohamud declared the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland null and void, stating that it goes against international law. He emphasized that nobody can or will sign away an inch of Somalia. Somalia belongs to the Somali people.
He called on the Ethiopian government to cease interfering in Somalia, leading Mogadishu to recall its ambassador to Ethiopia for deliberations, citing concerns that the deal jeopardizes regional stability.
The agreement also included recognizing Somaliland as an independent nation in due course. Somaliland would also receive a share of state-owned Ethiopian Airlines.
Somaliland has not gained widespread international recognition despite declaring autonomy from Somalia in 1991. Somalia says Somaliland is part of its territory.