Ethiopia and Somaliland have achieved a momentous agreement concerning the accessibility of Red Sea ports.

Ethiopia and Somaliland have reached a historic agreement, where Ethiopia will be granted naval and commercial access to ports along Somaliland’s Red Sea coast in exchange for recognizing the breakaway republic’s independence, as announced by the Somali government.

Somaliland’s president, Muse Bihi, expressed gratitude to the Ethiopian prime minister, stating that 20km of sea will be given to Ethiopia in accordance with the written agreement.

This memorandum of understanding will enable both countries to secure access to the sea, diversify their access to sea ports, and enhance regional integration in the Horn.

Redwan Hussein, an adviser to the Ethiopian prime minister, described the agreement as a step in the right direction, and further details will be formalized in a follow-up meeting.

The meeting between Ethiopia and Somaliland followed a breakthrough in talks between Somalia and Somaliland, committing to further dialogue.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in the 1990s and has been seeking international recognition for over three decades. Formal recognition by Ethiopia will provide Somaliland with a significant opportunity to overcome its international isolation.

Since the early 1990s, Ethiopia lost access to its Red Sea ports due to Eritrea’s declaration of independence. This agreement allows Ethiopia to mitigate its reliance on Djibouti for trade and diversify its options.

Abiy, in a televised address, emphasized the need for Ethiopia to have a say in the usage of Red Sea ports, similar to downstream countries negotiating the usage of the Nile River.

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