Addis Abeba – In its first detailed and significant statement following the signing of “historic” Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland, the Ethiopian government said part of the MoU “includes provisions for the Ethiopian government to make an in-depth assessment towards taking a position regarding the efforts of Somaliland to gain recognition.”
The government also said the “comprehensive MoU for partnership and cooperation reflects efforts made by the two parties to further strengthen their friendship and responds to the historic questions of both parties,” and that for Somaliland, it “enables to acquire the type of assistance and partnership they cannot get from any other country and also responds to their longstanding demands.”
While acknowledging PM Abiy’s “request for seaport access for their naval forces,” Somaliland President President Muse Bihi expressed in the official statement that “Somaliland endured a long quest for official recognition from Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia has already said that the MoU will pave ways “to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.” Furthermore, Redwan Hussien, National Security Advisor to PM Abiy, said the MoU will also “paves the way for accessing a leased Military base…”
While Somaliland formally acknowledged providing sea access to Ethiopia for Naval Forces in return for recognition, Ethiopia was not publicly about the provision.
However, on Tuesday, Ambassador Mesganu Arga, State Minister at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted on his X account Somaliland’s official statement that was released last night and said the government “welcome[s] the statement by the government of the Somaliland.”
More detail on other aspects was given by, Redwan Hussien, who stated that shares would be given to Somaliland from Ethio Telecom or Ethiopian Airlines.
In the statement today, the government said the MoU “intended to serve as a framework for the multisectoral partnership between the two sides.”
It paves the way for “wide scopes of cooperation in social, economic, political, and other fields” between the two sides. This includes Ethiopia obtaining a permanent naval base and commercial port access in the Gulf of Aden through a lease agreement with Somaliland.
The statement further reads that the Ethiopian government has taken a position to avoid war and to seek options that are mutually beneficial, and is prepared to share its resources. “Accordingly, we have made great effort to explain our position to all who are able and willing to listen,” the statement continued.
The statement notes that other countries have also pursued economic partnerships in the region. However, “there has been no murmur or complaint when this materialized,” indicating the MOU does not violate any laws or international norms.
While stressing the agreement aims to strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland, the statement acknowledged “some may disagree with or be offended by the MoU.”
The government called on Ethiopians to view this as an opportunity to elevate the country’s standing through constructive partnerships with neighbors.
Addressing Ethiopia’s national interests, Ethiopia’s government communication service underscores the country’s foreign policy, which prioritizes relations with neighboring nations. The MOU is portrayed as a significant step towards Ethiopia’s goal of regaining access to the sea, lost due to historical and legal circumstances, and ensuring the protection and advancement of its national interests through peaceful means.
On Tuesday morning, after an emergency meeting, Somalia’s Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, issued a statement denouncing Ethiopia’s decision to sign the MoU as an infringement of Somalia’s territorial integrity, declaring the actions “null and void.” Somalia regards Somaliland as one of its regions and has shown commitment to protecting its sovereignty, with PM Barre expressing intolerance for violations of its territory.
Somalia is calling on the UN Security Council, African Union, Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and other regional organizations to hold emergency meetings regarding Ethiopia’s actions, aiming to defend its territorial integrity and prompt Ethiopia to conform to established international norms. AS
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