Home » Somaliland grants Ethiopia sea access in exchange for recognition – president

Somaliland grants Ethiopia sea access in exchange for recognition – president

by Mohamed Jibril
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Somaliland’s President, Muse Bihi Abdi, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on Monday, granting Ethiopia a lease for a 20-kilometer sea base in the Red Sea.

In the agreement, Ethiopia gains the right to station its navy in the Red Sea and secure access to the sea.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has asked me to sign the MoU, which, in return, Ethiopia will be the first country to recognize Somaliland as an independent republic,” President Bihi announced during an event in Addis Ababa on Monday.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister and his government officials applauded as Bihi delivered the speech.

While still seeking international recognition since its separation from Somalia in 1992, Somaliland aims to strengthen its ties with Ethiopia through this strategic agreement.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office released a statement stating that the “memorandum of understanding shall pave the way to realize Ethiopia’s aspiration to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.”

It emphasized that the agreement strengthens security, economic, and political partnerships, while also indicating a pathway to bolster political and diplomatic relations.

Ethiopia’s recent push for access to seaports has been driven by its growing population exceeding 120 million.

The agreement, however, coincides with strained relations between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s open support for Egypt in the Nile dispute, where Ethiopia is using Nile water to fill its Renaissance dam, has created tensions.

Egypt, with a population of about 107 million, relies heavily on the Nile for fresh water and is concerned about the potential impact of Ethiopia’s dam on its livelihoods.

Reports suggest that Egypt has deployed intelligence and military advisers to Mogadishu.

It’s worth noting that Mogadishu has no role in the MoU signed on Monday between Ethiopia and Somaliland, indicating a further divergence in the relations between the Mogadishu and Addis Ababa.

Horn Observer

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