Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – In a bold response to the recently announced Ethiopian-Somaliland agreement, Somalia has vehemently expressed its opposition, labeling the pact a “clear violation” of its sovereignty.
The Somali government, led by Prime Minister Barre, has taken a resolute stance, recalling its ambassador to Ethiopia and appealing to the international community for support.
In a national address, Prime Minister Barre urged Somalis to unite and defend the nation’s territorial integrity using “any legal means.”
Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from Somalia in 1991. Despite its self-governance, including its own currency, passport, and elected government, Somaliland’s quest for international recognition has yet to be fulfilled.
Under its constitution, Somalia considers Somaliland part of its territory, a standpoint leading to years of political stalemate.
Ethiopia’s involvement in this complex scenario adds another layer of intricacy. The landlocked nation, Africa’s second most populous, has long sought access to the Red Sea for economic expansion.
The deal with Somaliland, providing Ethiopia access to the port of Berbera, represents a strategic move, particularly following its loss of direct Red Sea access after Eritrea’s independence in 1993.
This development has raised eyebrows across the region, given Ethiopia’s past challenges in maintaining coastal access, primarily through Djibouti after the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict.
The international dimension
Somalia’s call for international intervention underscores the broader implications of this dispute.
The Somali government has reached out to global and regional bodies, including the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, and the East African grouping IGAD, urging them to uphold Somalia’s sovereign rights.
The unfolding scenario presents a diplomatic challenge, potentially impacting regional stability and international maritime interests in the Red Sea corridor.
Conversely, Somaliland’s agreement with Ethiopia symbolizes its continued push for international legitimacy and economic development.
This move comes amidst internal political tensions and the region’s historical struggle for recognition.
The recent resumption of dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland, brokered by Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, offers a glimmer of hope for reconciliation.
However, the Ethiopian deal has undoubtedly complicated these efforts, potentially derailing the fragile progress made thus far.