We Don't Wish Harm On Somalia, Ethiopia's PM Insists

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed has declared that his country “does not wish any harm” on neighbouring Somalia despite several reports in the media which has tried to insinuate such. 

After Somalia accused Ethiopia, a landlocked country, of attempting to seize part of its territory in order to obtain access to the sea, he made these remarks in parliament.

Africa Today News, New York recalls that a contentious agreement was reached between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a breakaway nation, last month.

Somaliland, which Somalia claims as its own territory, consented to lease Ethiopia a portion of its coastline.

Somalia described the agreement as an act of aggression and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called on youths “to prepare for the defence of our country”.

He also said that he would only talk to Ethiopia if the deal was withdrawn.

Protests against the deal have also been held in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, with tens of thousands of people turning up to express their opposition.

Read Also: Italy Returns Ethiopia’s First-Ever Aeroplane Built In 1935

Meanwhile, diplomats have tried to calm tensions and said that Somalia’s sovereignty over all its territory needs to be recognised.

In an apparent move to dampen concerns, Mr Abiy painted a picture to MPs on Monday of brotherhood among the neighbours, despite a devastating war between the two countries in the 1970s.

“The people of Ethiopia and Somalia are bound by blood. Many Ethiopians have died for the peace of Somalia,” he said, seemingly referring to the Ethiopian forces that have backed Somalia’s government in its fight with armed Islamist group al-Shabab.

“Therefore, the friendship between the two countries is profound,” Mr Abiy added.

He went on to blame “some forces [for] trying to incite conflict between the two nations”. But he also continued to talk about access to the sea arguing that it would benefit the whole region.

Mr Abiy had previously described sea access as an “existential issue” for his country.

On 1 January, he signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi.

An MoU is a statement of intent rather than a legally binding agreement.

As part of the deal, Somaliland said it was ready to grant Ethiopia access to the sea for commercial traffic through a port. It also said it could lease a section of the coast to Ethiopia’s navy.

In return, Somaliland said that Ethiopia would recognise its independence, but this has not been confirmed by Addis Ababa.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991 and has all the trappings of a country, including a working political system, regular elections, a police force and its own currency.

But its independence has not been recognised by any country.

Africa Today News, New York

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *