AU Calls For Calm As Tensions Between Ethiopia And Somalia Escalate Over Controversial Red Sea Access Deal

AU Calls For Calm As Tensions Between Ethiopia And Somalia Escalate Over Controversial Red Sea Access Deal

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Moussa Faki Mahamat, has called for calm and mutual respect to de-escalate the simmering tension between the governments of Ethiopia and Somalia, following the signing of a port access deal between the former and Somaliland.

Somaliland is an unrecognized state in the Horn of Africa, recognized internationally as de jure part of Somalia.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission made the observation in a statement issued on January 3.

The deal in question was signed on Monday, January 1, by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi. It would allow landlocked Ethiopia to get 20 kilometers around the port of Berbera (on Somaliland side), allowing it to access the Red Sea for its navy and commercial purposes. In exchange Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi said Ethiopia would recognize it as an independent state, becoming the first country to do so.

The pact was rejected by the government of Somalia which views Somaliland as part of its territory. Somalia summoned its ambassador to Ethiopia for deliberations over the agreement, according to media reports.

Somalia also vowed to defend its territory after Monday’s agreement, which it described as an “aggression” and a “blatant assault” on its sovereignty by neighboring Ethiopia.

As per the AU statement, Mahamat has been closely following the tension resulting from signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and the region of Somalia (Somaliland).

Mahamat urged the two countries to refrain from any action that unintentionally may lead to a deterioration of the good relations between the two neighboring eastern African countries. He stressed the imperative to respect unity, territorial integrity and full sovereignty of all AU member states including Somalia and Ethiopia.

Furthermore, the Chairperson underscored the importance of adhering to the norms of good neighborliness to promote and consolidate peace, security and stability in the Horn of Africa region.

He urged the two countries to engage, without delay, in a negotiation process to settle their differences in the most constructive, peaceful and collaborative manner to consolidate and deepen their cooperation to serve peace and security in the region.

Also, he reaffirmed that AU would stand strongly in their side to encourage an African solution to the tension.

Somalia signed the Treaty of Accession to East African Community (EAC) on December 15, 2023, inching closer to becoming the eighth full member of the regional bloc.

Somaliland, a region strategically located by the Gulf of Aden, broke away from Somalia in 1991.

The region has maintained its own government despite its lack of international recognition but its self-declaration of independence from Somalia, on May 18, 1991, after the start of ongoing Somali conflict remains unrecognized by the international community. an accessible web community

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