Somaliland-Ethiopia Port Deal Fuels Regional Tension
Ethiopia holds military talks with Somaliland. Somalia’s President HMS heads to Asmara. Somaliland’s Defense Minister resigned in protest of the port deal. “We cooperate with anyone to defend Somalia” HMS.
In a significant turn of events in the Horn of Africa, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, embarked on a two-day working visit to Asmara, Eritrea. The Eritrean Spokesperson announced, “The President and his delegation were accorded warm welcome by President Isaias on arrival at Asmara International Airport.” This visit is set to focus on enhancing bilateral ties and discussing regional and international matters of mutual interest.
In a defiant stance, President Mohamud warned against escalating tensions over the recent Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding. He stated, “Do not push us into knocking on doors we have not knocked on before. We will defend our state, cooperate with anyone to defend it,” highlighting his government’s commitment to counter the effects of the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the Ethiopia-Somaliland deal continues to escalate within Somaliland itself. Somaliland’s Defense Minister, Abdiqani Mohamud Ateye, resigned in protest, declaring, “Ethiopia remains our number one enemy,” in an interview with local television.
Complicating matters further, Ethiopia engaged in military talks with Somaliland. Army Chief Birhanu Jula discussed military cooperation with his Somaliland counterpart Nuh Ismail Tani, a move that has sparked regional and international concern. This meeting followed just a week after Ethiopia’s agreement with Somaliland for sea access, which has significantly heightened tensions in the Horn of Africa.
Djibouti, currently heading the regional grouping IGAD, expressed “great concern” over the tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia. The nation called for dialogue between the two to de-escalate the situation and revealed ongoing efforts with member states to resolve the crisis. This development comes shortly after Djibouti hosted talks leading to Somalia and Somaliland agreeing to resume dialogue after years of stalemate.