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-Somalia urges IGAD to condemn Ethiopia

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has expressed “deep concern” about a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed earlier this week between the Ethiopian and Somaliland governments.

A statement from IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD) released today says the organization is “monitoring the situation and recognizes the potential implications for regional stability.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi signed a deal on Monday, January 1, 2024, that would see Ethiopia lease a 20 kilometer stretch on the Somaliland coast for a port facility and military base. The lease is to last 50 years, according to the MoU.

In exchange, Ethiopia would recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland, an internationally unrecognized state that broke away from Somalia proper and unilaterally declared independence in 1991.

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Stakes in state-owned enterprises Ethiopian Airlines and Ethio telecom are also on the table in the Somaliland port deal, according to a social media post from Redwan Hussein (Amb.), security advisor to the Prime Minister.

On Tuesday, an emergency Somali cabinet meeting in Mogadishu rejected the deal, claiming it has no legal validity and is a “clear violation” of Somalia’s sovereignty. Mogadishu has also recalled its ambassador from Addis Ababa.

The government of Somalia also rejected IGAD’s statement. “The [IGAD] statement unfortunately falls short of condemning the Ethiopian government of violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia contrary to the fundamental principles of UN, AU, IGAD and other international laws,” reads the statement issued by the Somalia government hours after IGAD’s statement.

In the statement, the Somalia government called upon the executive secretary of IGAD, to “immediately apologize, withdraw the statement and take the appropriate action.”

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