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Somalia’s President nullifies Somaliland-Ethiopia deal over Red Sea access

Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took a decisive step by signing a law late Saturday that annuls the agreement between the breakaway Somaliland region and Ethiopia, which aimed to provide Ethiopia access to the Red Sea in exchange for acknowledging Somaliland’s independence.

“This evening, I signed the law nullifying the illegal MoU between the governments of Ethiopia and Somaliland,” Mohamud stated on X, previously known as Twitter, underscoring the commitment to safeguard Somalia’s unity and territorial integrity.

The New Year’s Day agreement, rejected by Somalia considering Somaliland as part of its territory, proposed leasing 20 km (12 miles) around the Berbera port, located on the Gulf of Aden, to landlocked Ethiopia for naval and commercial purposes in exchange for Ethiopia’s recognition of Somaliland as an independent nation.

“This law is an illustration of our commitment to safeguard our unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity as per international law,” President Mohamud emphasised.


Although details of the new law or its parliamentary approval were not disclosed by the Somali president, this move signifies Somalia’s resistance to the deal, which could impact regional stability.

There has been no immediate response from officials in Somaliland or Ethiopia regarding this recent development.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had previously expressed the critical importance of Red Sea access for Ethiopia, linking it to the nation’s survival and regional peace. He emphasised the need for equitable resource sharing among Horn of Africa nations for peaceful coexistence.

Abiy’s national security advisor hinted at Ethiopia’s proposal to offer an unspecified stake in the state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to Somaliland in exchange for access to the Red Sea, aiming for a mutually beneficial agreement.


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