Land-locked African country`s port plots blocked


(MENAFN) Diplomatic tensions have escalated in the Horn of Africa as Somalia rejects a port access agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia, deeming it legally invalid. The memorandum of understanding, signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, granted Ethiopia 50-year access to the Red Sea port of Berbera and permission to establish a naval base. While Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, supports the deal, Mogadishu insists that any agreement involving Somaliland requires approval from the federal government.

The rejection prompted Somalia to recall its ambassador to Addis Ababa in protest, emphasizing that Somaliland is an integral part of Somalia. A statement following an emergency cabinet meeting in Mogadishu described Ethiopia's actions as a "blatant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia." Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre expressed determination to protect Somalia's sovereignty, asserting that no part of the country's land, sea, or air could be violated.

The agreement, which includes leasing 20KM of sea access to Ethiopia for 50 years and the construction of a military base on the coast, has wider implications for the region's geopolitics. Ethiopia contends that the deal officially recognizes the Republic of Somaliland, a stance that further complicates the already complex dynamics in the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has called on international bodies, including the United Nations, the Arab League, and the African Union, to support its position. The disagreement underscores longstanding challenges related to the recognition of Somaliland's independence and raises questions about the ability to forge diplomatic agreements in a region marked by historical tensions and territorial disputes.

As diplomatic discussions unfold, the fallout from this rejected agreement could have far-reaching consequences on regional stability and cooperation. The incident adds a layer of complexity to the intricate web of relationships in the Horn of Africa and highlights the delicate balance needed in addressing regional issues while respecting the sovereignty of individual nations.

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