Somalia's president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, said on Saturday that he had signed into law a law abrogating the breakaway Somaliland region's (Somaliland) treaty that gives Ethiopia access to the Red Sea in exchange for recognizing Ethiopia as an independent state.
The agreement was signed a few days ago between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi, and gives Ethiopia a landlocked (landlocked) country on the Red Sea.
Abiy's declared ambition to secure access to the Red Sea is fueling tensions between Ethiopia and its neighbors and raising fears of a new conflict in the Horn of Africa, Reuters reported.
African Union steps into crisis line in Ethiopia and Somalia… and calls for “peace and dialogue”
The African Union joined the United States in calling for peace in the Horn of Africa on Thursday, following rising tensions over a disputed accord between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Somalia, which considers Somaliland part of its territory, rejected a deal reached earlier in the new year that would have given Ethiopia access to the Red Sea for 50 years along a 20-kilometer strip around the port of Berbera in the Gulf of Aden. Marine, commercial and military purposes.
In return, Ethiopia would become the first country to recognize Somaliland as an independent country.
Somali President Ali Ax said, “This evening (Saturday), I signed into law a law canceling the illegal memorandum of understanding between the governments of Ethiopia and Somaliland.
He added, “This Act is a testament to our commitment to safeguarding our unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity as per international law.
The Somali president did not say what the new law says or when parliament approved it.
There was no immediate comment from Somaliland or Ethiopian authorities.
Last October, Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia's existence is “linked to the Red Sea”, adding that “if we (Horn of Africa) want to live together, we have to find a way to engage with each other. In a balanced way.”
His national security adviser said Ethiopia would offer Somaliland an unspecified stake in state-owned Ethiopian Airlines in exchange for access to the Red Sea.
“Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert.”