Somalia-Ethiopia Tensions: President Accuses Ethiopia of Annexation Plans


Somalia-Ethiopia Tensions:

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has accused Ethiopia of attempting to annex part of Somalia’s territory through a sea access agreement with the breakaway region of Somaliland. At the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Mohamud strongly objected to the deal, claiming it amounted to changing Somalia’s borders. The agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, signed on January 1, includes a 50-year lease on a naval base in Somaliland’s Berbera port, granting Ethiopia access to commercial marine operations.

The terms of the deal have not been made public, but it is perceived as potentially giving Ethiopia the right to build a port in Somaliland in exchange for recognition. Somaliland, which has enjoyed de facto independence for three decades, considers itself self-governing, while Somalia asserts it as part of its northern territory. Somalia views any international recognition of Somaliland as an infringement on its sovereignty, and the recent port deal with Ethiopia has been labeled “outrageous” and “unauthorized” by the Somali government.

President Mohamud accused Ethiopia of misleading the world by claiming a need for sea access, emphasizing the real issue of how Ethiopia seeks that access. He alleged that senior Ethiopian military officers were in Somaliland “preparing the ground” for its annexation, although this claim could not be independently verified. Somalia has previously hinted at the possibility of going to war to prevent Ethiopia from building a port in Somaliland. Despite the escalating tensions, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has downplayed the likelihood of armed conflict over the Somaliland deal.

The controversy extends beyond the agreement, with accusations that Ethiopian security forces attempted to block President Mohamud’s access to the AU Summit. This led to a heightened war of words between the two nations. The situation underscores the complex geopolitical dynamics in the Horn of Africa and the ongoing challenges related to territorial disputes, autonomy aspirations, and regional power dynamics.


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