By: ANADOLU AGENCY
Ethiopia on Sunday said its contentious Red Sea access deal with Somaliland is meant for cooperation and partnership and is not “annexation” or “assumption of sovereignty over the territory of any state.”
“The signed MoU with Somaliland is a deal for cooperation & partnership that grants Ethiopia access to sea on business terms. It isn’t annexation or assumption of sovereignty over the territory of any state,” National Security Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Redwan Hussein said in a statement on X.
He said Ethiopia and Somalia “are not just neighbors who share a border but they are fraternal nations sharing a common language, culture & people,” and “Our destiny is entwined & inseparable.”
He argued that “some actors who have not provided much support for Somalia during its time of dire need are trying to present themselves as its true friends.”
“But it is clear that what motivates them is not amity towards Somalia but animosity towards Ethiopia.
“Their agenda is not peace and security in the Horn of Africa. Far from it, what they want to sow is discord and chaos.The jingoism we’re witnessing escalates tensions & only serves the interest of opportunistic external actors,” he added.
The adviser said Addis Ababa would like to engage with all its neighbors in a spirit of partnership to promote a comprehensive regional integration.
“Ethiopia firmly believes continued dialogue is the better option than statements, posturing & rhetoric that unnecessarily ratchet up tension,” he said.
The remarks came hours after Egypt said it will not allow any threat to Somalia. “Egypt will not allow anyone to threaten Somalia or affect its security,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday at a news conference with visiting Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Ethiopia signed a sea access deal with Somaliland earlier this month, a move Mogadishu rejected, calling it “illegitimate” and a threat to good neighborliness and a violation of its sovereignty. It also recalled its ambassador from Ethiopia.
The agreement allows Ethiopia to lease a 20-kilometer (12-mile) stretch of coastal land in Somaliland, giving the landlocked nation crucial access to the Red Sea through the port of Berbera.
Regional bodies including the African Union called for dialogue, while the US, Arab league, as well as Türkiye called for respecting Somalia’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.