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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Somalia Rejects Somaliland-Ethiopia Port Deal

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A deal that allowed Somaliland, the breakaway region of Somalia, to use a major port with access to the Red Sea in exchange for recognition as an independent state was rejected by Somalia on Tuesday, claiming it lacked legal force.

In addition, Somalia—which considers Somaliland to be a part of its territory—called its ambassador to Ethiopia to discuss the agreement that Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed on Monday.

The agreement would give landlocked Ethiopia, which depends primarily on neighbouring Djibouti for its maritime trade, a 50-year lease for its navy and commercial uses around the port of Berbera, which is located on the Gulf of Aden with access to the Red Sea, covering 20 kilometres.

In return, Somaliland’s leader declared that Ethiopia would be the first country to acknowledge Somaliland as an independent nation.

Ethiopia and its neighbours are tense with Abiy because of his declared desire to gain access to the Red Sea, which has sparked fears of a new conflict in the Horn of Africa.

“If we (countries in the Horn of Africa) plan to live together in peace, we have to find a way to mutually share with each other in a balanced manner,” stated Abiy in October, referring to Ethiopia’s existence as “tied to the Red Sea.”

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