Mogadishu objections to Somaliland deal a “hiccup”: Ethiopian senior Foreign Affairs advisor


Ethiopia remains steadfast in its commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Somaliland and the recent furor in Mogadishu over the deal is nothing more than a temporary setback, according to Abdulaziz Ahmed Adem (Amb.), chief advisor to the National Intelligence and Security Service and an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The senior official made the remarks during a conference on regional security in the Horn of Africa organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs at Skylight Hotel on April 19, 2024.

Abdulaziz told The Reporter the Ethiopian government remains committed to the MoU.

He argues that Ethiopian access to sea outlets can facilitate mutual growth with Somalia, which boasts a coastline stretching over 3,000 kilometers. Abdulaziz characterized Mogadishu’s vehement objections to the port deal with Somaliland as a “hiccup,” suggesting it is an attempt to divert attention from Somalia’s  internal political challenges.

He said Ethiopia would proceed with the deal as part of its commitment to regional integration.

“Ethiopia welcomes people from all neighboring countries, especially Somalia,” he said. “It’s crucial for both nations to unite against designated terrorist groups like Al-Shabab, Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS), and human traffickers. By working together, we can thrive and overcome challenges, rather than opposing an agreement that cannot be stopped,” said Abdulaziz.

He called upon regional countries to prioritize cooperation and prosperity and reaffirmed Ethiopia’s dedication to peace and collaboration with neighboring nations. Abdulaziz mentioned the military contributions Ethiopia has made to peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and Somalia.

He cautioned against the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia, emphasizing the potential risks it poses not only to Ethiopia but also to the broader region.

“Our military has made significant sacrifices for Somalia, both within its borders and for the cause of peace. We are committed to fostering peaceful relations with our neighbors and are prepared to undertake further efforts towards this goal. It is imperative that they, along with others, are aware of our dedication to this cause,” he told The Reporter.

The MoU, signed on January 1, 2024, between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi has sparked considerable regional and international debate. Abiy Ahmed has previously emphasized the critical nature of sea access for Ethiopia, a stance that has heightened tensions across the Horn of Africa.