• Mogadishu

  • Friday, January 26, 2024 at 7:19 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 29, 2024 at 6:40 AM

Somali Official to AWP: Ethiopia’s Agreement with Somaliland Threatens Arab National Security

(AWP) - A former Somali minister said that the accord signed between Ethiopia and the self-declared Somaliland Republic over access to the Red Sea was a “blatant violation of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which also poses a threat to the national security of Arab nations.

In an interview with AWP, former Minister of Planning, Adirahman Ali Ainti, said that Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who will begin a new term in power this month, is making what he described as fruitful efforts to protect the country, including signing joint defense agreements as a military strategic plan.

In a move that was widely condemned by Mogadishu, Ethiopia signed an agreement with the government of the Somaliland region on 1 January, granting Addis Ababa a 50-year access to a maritime front of 20 kilometres overlooking the Red Sea.

The Somali government considers the agreement an “aggression and blatant violation,” and has vowed to counter it with all possible legal means.

The accord similarly prompted negative reactions from Arab countries, including Egypt, whose President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said that his country, “will not allow any threats against Somalia, its security and sovereignty.”

During his meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Cairo this week, Al-Sisi confirmed Egypt’s rejection of the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

He said that Cairo would not allow anyone to threaten Somalia or harm its security, calling on Ethiopia to follow legitimate diplomatic procedures to obtain what he described as “facilitations from the brothers in Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.”

“The Somali government strongly confronted this unilateral step, describing it as a blatant violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The central government launched a diplomatic and political campaign, and international reactions to this memorandum, signed between [Somaliland capital] Hargeisa and Addis Ababa, were supportive of Somalia’s position. The most important of these supporters were the Arab countries, the African Union, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United States of America, China, Turkey, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation,” Ainti told AWP in Mogadishu.

“Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his Prime Minister reiterated the importance of their efforts to defend Somalia’s sovereignty. There are currently fruitful efforts being made by the federal government, through the admission into joint defence agreements as a military strategic plan, to ensure the security of Somalia and to protect its sovereignty. It is the duty of the federal government to defend its sovereignty and independence,” he added.

The former Somali minister, who is a member of The Committee Defending the Independence and Sovereignty of Somalia, added that the move taken by Addis Ababa, which hosts the African Union’s headquarters, “violates the norms of good neighbourliness and historical relations between the two countries, and undermines Somalia’s recent efforts to open a new page with Ethiopia.”

“This is why Ethiopia cannot host the headquarters of the African Union, because it violates the Union’s charters, which stipulate that no country can infringe on the sovereignty of the member states of the Union and threaten their unity. However, Ethiopia has tended to practice what contradicts the Charter of the African Union. The Somali government will take every measure necessary to deter Ethiopia from its ambition to violate the sovereignty of Somalia by signing a memorandum of understanding with a Somali region,” he continued.

During his visit to Cairo, the Somali President stressed that the partnership between his country and Egypt "is not a threat to any other country."

In an emergency meeting held recently to support Somalia, Arab foreign ministers described the Ethiopia-Somaliland agreement as “a blatant coup against stable Arab, African and international principles, and a clear violation of international law and applicable international agreements.

“The Somali President is currently on a tour of the Arab countries. He visited Egypt, and is currently visiting Qatar. Somalia will cooperate with the Arab countries, not only in order to protect Somalia’s security interests and sovereignty, but rather because Ethiopia has become a source of concern. Ethiopia threatens the security strategy of Arab countries, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, if Ethiopia were to reach the warm waters of the Red Sea. Therefore, there is currently harmony between the Arab countries and Somalia, to confront Ethiopian plans to find a foothold and a water outlet on the Red Sea,” Ainti said.

During the extraordinary session of the Ministerial Council of the Arab League, Egypt announced its full support for Somalia.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister's National Security Advisor, Redwan Hussein, said that unnamed parties were trying to present themselves as friends of Somalia, "driven by hostility" towards Addis Ababa, in reference to the current crisis between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu.

“Some actors who did not provide much support to Somalia during its period of dire need are trying to present themselves as true friends of Somalia,” Hussein said, on the X platform.