Somalia has declared the port agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland as invalid.

The agreement, which has sparked tensions throughout the region, involves Ethiopia recognizing Somaliland in exchange for access to the sea.
On Saturday, Somalia’s president invalidated a preliminary agreement that would have granted landlocked Ethiopia access to ports along Somaliland’s coast. This symbolic move was intended to reprimand both parties for a deal that has escalated tensions across the Horn of Africa.
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 during a civil war and has operated independently since then. The capital, Hargeisa, claims the borders of the former British protectorate of Somaliland in northern Somalia.
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Somaliland’s president, Muse Bihi, and Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, outlined the broad outlines of a possible future agreement between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa.
Although the details of the memorandum are disputed and have not been made public, officials have stated that Somaliland would grant Ethiopia access to the Gulf of Aden and a naval base in exchange for shares in Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian recognition of Somaliland’s independence from Somalia.
In an interview with Ethiopia’s state broadcaster, EBC, Redwan Hussein, security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, stated that Ethiopia would be given 20km of land along Somaliland’s Gulf of Aden coastline for a minimum of 50 years. In return, Ethiopia would grant Somaliland an equivalent value of shares in Ethiopian Airlines.
Senior Somaliland officials have stated that the memorandum, although not legally binding at this stage, would also include diplomatic recognition for Hargeisa, a long-standing goal for the self-declared republic.
On the issue of recognition, Ethiopian officials have given mixed messages, with some arguing for Somaliland’s recognition, but none committing Ethiopia to a position at this time. A statement released by Addis Ababa stated that an “in-depth assessment” would be made before taking a stance on the matter.
The deal has faced significant international condemnation and angered Somalia, which has deemed it an act of “aggression.” Somalia’s president called on Ethiopia and Somaliland to reverse their course, emphasizing that no Somali territory should be exchanged for shares in companies such as Ethiopian Airlines.
Somalia withdrew its ambassador from Ethiopia and appealed to the international community for support. The United States, a significant aid and security partner for Somaliland and Somalia, recognizes Somalia within its 1960 borders, including Somaliland, and encourages all parties to resolve their issues through dialogue.
The United Kingdom and Turkey have also called for respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and dialogue to resolve the issues. The European Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and Arab League have made appeals to Ethiopia to reconsider the deal, escalating tensions in an already volatile region.
In a phone conversation with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, I reiterated the EU’s full support for the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Somalia. The Horn of Africa does not need further tensions.
Somaliland remains undeterred by Mogadishu’s opposition and intends to proceed with the preliminary agreement it reached with Ethiopia.
The deal has divided public opinion in both Somalia and Somaliland, leading to several demonstrations and counter-demonstrations regarding the transfer of territory to Ethiopia, with which Somalia has a history of conflict.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *