Port Deal Unleashes Dreams of Global Acknowledgment and Growth in Somaliland
Somaliland’s agreement to lease a Red Sea naval port to Ethiopia has sparked outrage in Somalia. The deal, granting Ethiopia a 50-year lease for naval and commercial use of the Berbera port, is perceived by Somalia as an act of aggression against its sovereignty. Mogadishu’s strong opposition stems from its view of Somaliland as part of its territory, despite Somaliland’s autonomous operation since 1991.
In Somaliland, there is cautious optimism about the deal’s potential for international recognition and economic growth. The agreement, which includes a stake in Ethiopian Airlines, represents a significant step towards Somaliland’s long-sought global acknowledgment.
While Somalia vehemently opposes the agreement, fearing it undermines its territorial integrity, the risk of armed conflict remains low. Ethiopia, considerably stronger militarily, is unlikely to engage in open warfare with Somalia. Additionally, both nations are grappling with internal conflicts, making an all-out war unfeasible.
International response largely supports Somalia’s stance, with several countries and organizations urging Ethiopia to respect Mogadishu’s sovereignty. The African Union, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, the United States, the European Union, and the Arab League have all emphasized the importance of Somalia’s territorial integrity.
As the situation unfolds, the focus shifts to how Somalia will legally challenge the deal and Ethiopia’s firm stance in favor of the agreement. The regional and global dynamics surrounding this issue underscore the complex geopolitics of the Horn of Africa, with the potential to reshape alliances and influence the region’s future.