China Supports Somalia in Dispute with Ethiopia Over Port Agreement
Anadolu Ajansi, Istanbul – On Thursday, China expressed support for Somalia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” amid its dispute with Ethiopia over a port agreement with the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, emphasized China’s commitment “to upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and supports countries in safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Mao further stated, “Somaliland is part of Somalia.”
Ethiopia’s deal for sea access with Somaliland was signed without the consent of Somalia’s central government, which has since denounced the agreement as “illegitimate” and a violation of its sovereignty, also leading to the recall of its ambassador to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, defending its decision, stated that the agreement with Somaliland would not negatively impact any party or country, offering Ethiopia a chance to establish a stable naval base and commercial maritime operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Mao, representing China, endorsed the Somali federal government’s efforts to preserve national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. He expressed hope for regional countries to resolve issues through diplomatic dialogue, promoting friendly cooperation for mutual development.
This development comes in the context of Ethiopia’s loss of direct Red Sea access and vital ports following Eritrea’s independence in 1991 after a prolonged war of independence that began in 1961. The separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1991 resulted in Ethiopia becoming landlocked.