Ethiopia-Somaliland Accord.. Somalia Calls on AU to Take a Stand

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Recently signed in early January, the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland grants Ethiopia access to the Red Sea and the potential establishment of a military base in exchange for recognizing Somaliland. With the AU Heads of State summit just days away, Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement urging a firm condemnation.

According to Somali authorities, this agreement aims to undermine recent progress, such as debt relief, lifting arms embargoes, and integrating into the East African Community. Additionally, advancements in combating the terrorist group Al-Shabaab are perceived to be at risk, as Somali authorities argue that the Hargeisa-Addis Ababa accord provides Al-Shabaab with an ideal recruitment narrative.

Mogadishu is therefore pressing for the African Union to take a decisive stance, advocating for the adherence to one of its cardinal principles: the inviolability of its member states’ borders. In response, the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement calling on Somalia to respect people’s right to self-determination.

Thus far, the AU’s position on the matter has been cautious. It has called for the de-escalation of tensions between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu and urged for a negotiated solution. In 2005, an AU fact-finding mission recognized that the case of Somaliland “was unique in African political history and justified […] a specific solution.”

As the AU prepares for its upcoming summit, the Ethiopia-Somaliland agreement continues to provoke debate and calls for resolution, underscoring the complexities of regional dynamics and the delicate balance of sovereignty and self-determination in Africa.


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