Africa

Over a port deal, Somalia recalls Ethiopia’s ambassador, according to officials

Over a port deal, Somalia recalls Ethiopia's ambassador, according to officials
FILE PHOTO: A Somali woman carries their flag during a march against the Ethiopia-Somaliland port deal along KM4 street in Mogadishu, Somalia January 11, 2024. REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo

Due to a disagreement over a port agreement, Somalia closed its consulates in Puntland, a semi-autonomous province, and in Somaliland, a breakaway region, on Thursday and sent the Ethiopian ambassador stationed in Mogadishu back home, according to two Somali officials.

Nebiyu Tedla, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, stated that no information was available. Requests for comment from the prime minister’s spokeswoman were not answered.

Immobile On January 1st, Ethiopia signed a memorandum of agreement to lease 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Somaliland’s coastline. Somalia claims ownership of this territory, despite the fact that the northern part has had practical autonomy since 1991.

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Somalia responded defiantly to Ethiopia’s announcement that it intended to establish a naval facility there and that it may recognize Somaliland in return. Ethiopia fears that this agreement will further destabilize the Horn of Africa.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, declared the agreement to be unlawful in February and threatened to “defend itself” if Ethiopia proceeded with it.

Analysts and diplomats say that the decision to remove the ambassador and close the consulates raises questions about what will happen to the 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers who are battling terrorists from al Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping operation.

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Mohamud stated in February that he had no intention of evicting them.

Giulia Paravicini reported, George Obulutsa wrote, and Bate Felix and Angus MacSwan edited.

 

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