by FELIX KIPKEMOI
Thursday January 4, 2024
African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat
The African Union (AU) commission has added its voice to the simmering tension between Somalia and Ethiopia urging the two nations to negotiate to settle their differences.“I urge the two countries to refrain from any action that unintentionally may lead to a deterioration of the good relations between the two neighbouring Eastern African countries,” it reads.
In a statement dated January 4, AU chairperson Moussa Faki said the union is closely following the situation as it called for calm and mutual de-escalation of the tension.
Faki reaffirmed that the AU will strongly stand on their side to ensure a solution is reached.
He has stressed the imperative to respect the unity, territorial integrity and full sovereignty of all AU member states including Somalia and Ethiopia.
The chairperson also underscored the importance of adhering to the norms of good neighbourliness to promote and consolidate peace, security and stability in the Horn of Africa region.
The peaceful and collaborative resolution of the differences, he said, will consolidate and deepen their cooperation to serve peace and security in the region.
The tension between the two neighbouring Eastern African countries sparked off Monday following the signing of a port deal between the breakaway Somaliland and Ethiopia.
The historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Addis Ababa saw Somaliland grant naval and commercial sea access on lease to Ethiopia for 50 years.
In return, Ethiopia officially recognised Somaliland as an independent state, marking a significant diplomatic milestone for the country.
Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali signed the deal.
"Today, it is with immense pride that I announce the mutually beneficial agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia. In exchange for 20 km of sea access for the Ethiopian Naval Forces, leased for 50 years,” Abdi said.
Somalia has maintained that the deal signed on Monday in Addis Ababa between Ethiopia and Somaliland is null and void.
The Somalia Cabinet maintained Monday that Somaliland is part of Somalia under the Somali constitution, terming the step taken by Somaliland a clear violation of its sovereignty and unity.
President Hassan Sheik Mohamud condemned the agreement as "illegal" as it accused Ethiopia of infringing on its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
This, even as he stated that not an inch of Somalia can or will be signed away by anybody.
"Somalia belongs to the Somali people. This is final," he posted on his official X page.