Ethiopia Seeks Access to the Sea

Source:  Ethiopia’s The Reporter published on 30 September 2023 an editorial titled “Ensuring Ethiopia Regains Peaceful Access to the Sea.”

Ethiopia enjoyed unfettered access to the Red Sea for most of its history until it became landlocked in 1993 following the secession of Eritrea.  Access to the sea is a matter of vital economic and geostrategic importance for Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reportedly vowed last July that Ethiopia will secure direct access to a port peacefully or, if necessary, by force.  This has led to speculation in the country about the significance of the alleged remark and its impact on relations with Eritrea, the most likely country Abiy had in mind.  It has also resulted in concerns about tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  

The Reporter makes cleat that attempting to accomplish this objective through force is a non-starter and bound to cause unimaginable horror and destruction.  The only feasible option is to pursue the goal through peaceful diplomatic options.  

For additional background on Ethiopia’s desire for access to the Red Sea, see “Landlocked Ethiopia Wants Better Sea Access: A Port Deal with Neighbors Could Benefit the Region” by Namhia Matshanda,  University of the Western Cape