In an unique interview, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud says Somalia will reply to any ‘strain’ within the breakaway area.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has warned Ethiopia towards taking steps to implement a controversial port deal it brokered with the breakaway area of Somaliland.
Beneath a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on January 1, Somaliland leased landlocked Ethiopia 20km (12 miles) of its coastland across the port of Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden, for 50 years for army and industrial functions.
In an unique interview with Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Mohamud stated Ethiopian belongings must cross into Somalia’s territory so as to attain the leased space and warned Addis Ababa towards taking such a step.
“To date Ethiopians haven’t come into Somalia. If they’ll, then that will probably be an issue at a distinct stage,” Mohamud stated.
Egypt, which is concerned in a separate dispute with Ethiopia over a major dam on the Blue Nile, has vowed to face with Mogadishu within the Somaliland dispute. Mohamud stated he mentioned the current developments with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi however that the 2 sides didn’t talk about a joint army intervention.
“We haven’t mentioned the Egyptian army coming to Somalia and we consider that the issue has not reached [that point] but,” the Somali president stated. “And that’s why we’re warning [Ethiopia]: don’t do it, please.”
Ethiopia is aiming to ascertain a marine power base within the land leased from Somaliland and acquire a port for maritime exports within the Pink Sea and the Suez Canal, which may enhance its entry to Europe. At present, Addis Ababa depends primarily on the smaller Djibouti for its port operations for inbound and outbound commerce.
Somaliland, a area of Somalia that broke away in 1991 after a bloody struggle, has welcomed the deal because it appears for worldwide recognition and financial alternatives past Mogadishu.
Somalia has been angered by the deal that bypasses its federal authorities and says it threatens the integrity of its personal territory.
“It is a piece of land that belongs to Somalia and [we] won’t ever yield to no matter strain that comes on it,” Mohamud stated.
The Somali head of state accused Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of getting stored him “in the dead of night” in regards to the cope with Somaliland after they met in Djibouti in late December for “superb” talks on the “unity” of Somalia, simply days earlier than the MOU was signed.
Requested whether or not he thought there may very well be a win-win answer to the disaster, which has stoked fears of a protracted diplomatic rift, he stated the ball was in Ethiopia’s court docket.
“The query will not be will Ethiopia entry the ocean. We would like Ethiopia to have entry to the ocean, there is no such thing as a query about that,” Mohamud stated, including that the federal authorities was prepared to barter a cope with Addis Ababa. “However grabbing a chunk of land, we aren’t prepared for that.”
“They must [initiate] a conducive setting to speak, negotiate and to dialogue,” he added.
Mogadishu has claimed that the deal quantities to a landgrab, whereas Addis Ababa says the deal is of a industrial nature and is significant to its financial wants.
On January 17, the Arab League stated it backed Somalia’s diplomatic efforts to sort out “this perilous state of affairs”. Qatar, Turkey, america, the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have additionally urged Ethiopia to respect Mogadishu’s sovereignty.