Government urges all concerned parties to respect the MoU between the Republic of Somaliland and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

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The Government of the Republic of Somaliland calls upon all concerned parties to honor the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Partnership and Cooperation signed between the Republic of Somaliland and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on January 1st, 2024. The Government of Somaliland emphasizes the importance of sovereign nations engaging in bilateral agreements that promote regional cooperation without external interference. To ensure this, we urge concerned parties to adhere to principles of international cooperation, diplomatic practice and mutual respect when addressing regional affairs, particularly to the Horn of Africa region.

Over the years, the Republic of Somaliland and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia have established a brotherly relationship based on mutual commitment to addressing regional issues of peace and security.  Somaliland and Ethiopia’s diplomatic relationship spans for decades and has been characterized by shared interests aimed towards enhancing regional integration, sustainable development, and people-to-people relations. Furthermore, the Government of Somaliland has consistently utilized the country’s geo-strategic location for the advancement of the Horn of Africa. These efforts have significantly contributed to regional trade and stability.

For this reason, it is imperative that regional and international entities acknowledge Somaliland’s active role in the Horn of Africa and recognize the country’s distinction from Somalia. The Republic of Somaliland has never been a part of Somalia’s federal system; rather, Somaliland has maintained 32 years of sovereignty and democratic governance. By establishing diplomatic relations with numerous countries and engaging in international cooperation, Somaliland has entered into long-term international agreements that advance the country’s interests. In doing so, the Somaliland Government upholds the pillars outlined in the Somaliland Constitution and asserts exclusive jurisdiction over its territories.

As a former British protectorate, Somaliland was the first East African nation to gain its independence on June 26, 1960, prior to voluntarily agreeing to form a union with Somalia (a former Italian colony) to create the Somali Republic. However, since the agreed upon ‘Act of Union’ was never ratified, this union failed from the outset. After enduring decades of unequal power-sharing, oppression and genocide, the Republic of Somaliland reasserted its sovereignty on May 18, 1991, reclaiming its independence within its June 26, 1960 borders.

Concurrently, Somalia charted its own course and established their current federal government in 2011 after years of turmoil. Nevertheless, Somaliland has faced significant challenges primarily stemming from the international community’s failure to realize the Republic of Somaliland’s distinctive historical identity and the legitimacy of its statehood. In actuality, Somaliland adheres to the African Union’s principles which mandates the recognition of all borders of colonial Africa as real. In 2005, a AU fact-finding mission reported that “Somaliland’s search for recognition is historically unique and self-justified in African political history” and emphasized that the Somaliland case should be “objectively viewed… and not be linked to the notion of ‘opening a Pandora’s box’.”

On January 01, 2024, the President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E Muse Bihi, and the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Abiy Ahmed, signed a comprehensive MOU for Partnership and Cooperation that will pave the way for increased cooperation in security, development, and economic integration. Furthermore, this agreement includes provisions which state that the Ethiopian government will recognize Somaliland. In return, the Somaliland Government will enter into a lease agreement with Ethiopia so that country can finally establish a naval base along the Red Sea. This momentous agreement will usher in unprecedented stability and cooperation in the dynamic Horn of Africa region.