Africa

‘Entire Region Up in Arms’ Against Somali-Somaliland Pact

Trucks loaded with NGOs’ food ratios from the Thorco Liva ship leave the Berbera port of Somaliland on July 21, 2018.

Oleg BurunovSomaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized by the African Union nor the UN as an independent state. A landmark pact between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland is a «lifeline» for the latter’s leader Muse Bihi Abdi, Somali expert Samira Gaid has told the New York Times.

Gaid, who is the senior Horn of Africa analyst at Balqiis Insights, a research consultancy based in the Somali capital Mogadishu, argued that with this kind of agreement, Abdi "tips the edges and comes up now with more bargaining power."

The memorandum of understanding between Abdi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was signed on Monday. It reportedly leased more than 12 miles of sea to the Ethiopian Navy for 50 years.In exchange, Addis Ababa formally recognizes Somaliland as an independent nation, in a move that Abdi said would pave the way to realizing Ethiopia’s aspiration to secure access to the Red Sea.Somaliland is a region of almost four million people located in northern Somalia. It declared itself an independent state in 1991. Despite not being officially recognized by any country or international organization, Somaliland has a government, currency, army and electoral system.

For her part, Gaid noted that “the entire region was up in arms" about the pact and that “everyone has been on notice since then about how a regional hegemon like Ethiopia would want to gain access to the sea.”

Somalia’s government rejected the memorandum of understanding as «null and void» and urged the African Union and the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting over the issue.AfricaBreakaway Somaliland Discovers Oil – Ministry9 January 2023, 11:03 GMTSomali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told lawmakers that «Somalia belongs to Somalis,» pledging to protect «every inch» of his country’s «sacred land» and not tolerate attempts to relinquish any part of it.

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