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Somali President lashes out at Ethiopia-Somaliland port deal, recalls ambassador

Tuesday January 2, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has lashed out at a port deal signed by Ethiopia with the breakaway region of Somaliland.

Speaking at an emergency parliament session in Mogadishu on Tuesday, President Mohamud declared the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland null and void, saying it goes against international law. He emphasized that no one can cede an inch of land, sea, or sky to someone else.

"International law does not allow what occurred on the first of January in Addis Ababa. It is also against international customary law and will not be enforced. Ethiopia's actions threaten good neighbourliness and peace and stability in the region," said the president.

President Mohamud also directed a message to the Somaliland administration, stating that the Ethiopian government cannot grant them international recognition.

"Brothers, Ethiopia does not have recognition for you. Even if they claim they will recognize you, there is no recognition. Somalia belongs to Somalis. We have always defended our territorial integrity and sovereignty, and we will assert our exclusive rights in accordance with international laws. We will protect every inch of our sacred land and not tolerate attempts to relinquish any part of it,” President Mohamud added.

He called on the Ethiopian government to cease interfering in Somalia, prompting Mogadishu to recall its ambassador to Ethiopia for deliberations, citing concerns that the deal jeopardizes regional stability.

Monday's agreement, signed in Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, would clear the way for Ethiopia to set up commercial marine operations, giving it access to a leased military base on the Red Sea, Redwan Hussien, Abiy's security adviser, said.

The agreement also included recognizing Somaliland as an independent nation in due course. Somaliland would also receive a share of state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, according to Redwan.

Somaliland has not gained widespread international recognition despite declaring autonomy from Somalia in 1991. Somalia says Somaliland is part of its territory.

Last week, Somalia and Somaliland agreed to restart talks to resolve their disputes, following mediation efforts led by Djibouti.


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