Latest News Regarding

Horn of Africa

 

Egypt Supports Somalia after Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal

 Source. The National published on 21 January 2024 an article titled “El Sisi Warns Ethiopia over Somaliland Red Sea Deal” by Hamza Hendawi.

Following a visit to Cairo by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Egypt will not allow any country “to breach or threaten Somalia’s security.”  This was in reference to the Memorandum of Understanding announced earlier by Ethiopia and Somaliland

Somali President Mobilizing Support Against Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal

Somali President Mobilizing Support Against Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal

 Source: Al-Monitor published on 23 January 2024 an article titled “Somali President Visits Qatar, Egypt Amid Row over Somaliland-Ethiopia Deal” by Beatrice Farhat.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been visiting Eritrea, Egypt, and Qatar to build support for opposing the Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland.  He appears to be making progress in achieving this goal. 

Impact on Somalia and Somaliland of Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal

Impact on Somalia and Somaliland of Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal

 Source: by Caleb Weiss, Bridgeway Foundation, and James Barnett, Hudson Institut, War on the Rocks published on 24 January 2024 an analysis titled “A Port Deal Puts the Horn of Africa on the Brink” by Caleb Weiss, Bridgeway Foundation, and James Barnett, Hudson Institute.

This analysis focuses on the implications of the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the internal situation in Somalia and Somaliland.  It acknowledges that neither Somalia nor Somaliland has the ability to wage a conventional war against any potential opponent.  The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terrorist movement in Somalia and the Somali government oppose the MOU.  Al-Shabaab sees the MOU as a way to mobilize additional support for its goals from the wider Somali population.  The MOU has also upended politics in Somaliland. 

Suicide bombing kills at least 2 in Somali capital

Suicide bombing kills at least 2 in Somali capital


Source: AA, Thursday January 25, 2024

At least two civilians were killed and two wounded in a suicide attack Wednesday at a busy intersection in the Somali national capital of Mogadishu, according to police.

The attack involved a lone bomber who detonated explosives vests near a petrol station 1 kilometer from Mogadishu’s soccer stadium, police said in a statement.
The stadium was hosting a match where thousands of spectators were inside. The statement said the bomber exploded as the security personnel were chasing the attacker.

The al-Qaeda affiliated terror group, al-Shabaab. claimed responsibility for the attack — the second in the Horn of Africa nation in less than 24 hours.

Earlier Wednesday, the group launched predawn attacks on an army base.

Heavy gunfire was exchanged during the multi-pronged strike on the base in northern Mudug province, according to officials.

The group said it attacked bases housing 1,350 soldiers and killed more than 191.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from al-Shabaab and the Daesh/ISIS terror groups.

Since 2007, al-Shabaab has been fighting the Somali government and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) — a multidimensional mission authorized by the African Union and mandated by the UN Security Council.

The terror group has stepped up attacks since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected for a second term in 2022, declared an “all-out war” on the terror group.

President Mohamud in Garowe for Puntland leader’s inauguration


Source: Hiiraan Online , Thursday January 25, 2024

Garowe (HOL) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has arrived in Garowe to attend the inauguration ceremony of Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni, scheduled for Thursday.

Former leaders, politicians, the President of Hirshabelle Ali Guudlawe, Galmudug’s Vice President, and a Jubbaland and Southwest delegations are already in the city.

President Hassan Sheikh and Said Abdullahi Deni have had a strained relationship recently, with Puntland boycotting the recent meeting of the National Consultative forums, where significant political decisions were reached. However, Puntland opposed all the decisions made during the forums.

Political analysts believe that President Hassan’s participation in the inauguration ceremony of the Puntland President indicates a possible reconciliation, allowing the two sides to initiate talks and work towards resolving the longstanding political conflict.

Somalia rejects mediation efforts with Ethiopia over port deal


Source: Friday January 19, 2024

Somalia rejected any discussions with Ethiopia about Addis Ababa’s agreement to lease a port in the breakaway region of Somaliland, as regional heads of state gathered on Thursday to try to defuse a growing diplomatic crisis.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed on Jan. 1, Ethiopia would consider recognising Somaliland’s independence in return for gaining access to the Red Sea, partly through the port lease.

advertisementsSomaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not won recognition from any country and the port lease deal, which would be a boon to landlocked Ethiopia, has enraged Somalia.

An escalating war of words, including threats by Somalia to go to war to prevent the deal from going through, led the African Union to call on Wednesday for restraint and “meaningful dialogue”.

“There is no space for mediation unless Ethiopia retracts its illegal MOU and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia,” Somalia’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement on Thursday.

Under the deal, which still has to be finalised, Ethiopia would lease 20 km (12 miles) of coastland around the port of Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden, for 50 years for military and commercial purposes.
Ethiopia’s current main port for maritime exports is in the neighbouring country of Djibouti.

Heads of state from a regional group, the eight-member Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), met in Entebbe, Uganda, on Thursday to seek a peaceful solution.

Those in attendance included the presidents of Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan as well as the leader of the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

AL-SHABAAB FEARS

The U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, who attended as an observer along with the European Union, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, said the MOU threatened to further undermine regional security and had been weaponized by Al Shabaab militants.

“We have already seen troubling indications that al-Shabaab is using the MOU to generate new recruits,” he told delegates in Uganda, according to a copy of the remarks seen by Reuters.
Ethiopia did not send a delegation, saying it was informed too late about the summit.

At a news conference on Thursday, Ambassador Meles Alem, Ethiopia’s foreign affairs spokesperson, rejected a statement by the Arab League on Wednesday that called the MOU “a clear violation of international law”.

“The statement is a disservice to the organisation itself as well as member countries. More than anything it shows a disregard to Africans,” Meles said.

Reporting by Giulia Paravicini in Nairobi and Dawit Endeshaw in Addis Ababa Editing by Aaron Ross, Frances Kerry and Gareth Jones

Egypt expresses solidarity with Somalia against attempts to breach its sovereignty

Egypt expresses solidarity with Somalia against attempts to breach its sovereignty


Source: egypttoday, Friday January 19, 2024


Press Photo

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry met Thursday with Ali Mohamed Omar, charge d’affaires of the Somalian foreign minister, in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, hosting the 19th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Minister Shokry expressed Egypt’s solidarity with Somalia against attempts to breach its sovereignty, security and stability. He also stressed Egypt’s readiness to assist Somalia with human capacity-building, development plans and supporting its stability.
In turn, the Somalian official welcomed the statement released by the Arab League’s extraordinary session affirming solidarity with his country. He equally lauded the stances of many African states that back Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Further, the two sides agreed on continuous consultation and coordination in the coming period.

In his speech at the Arab League’s extraordinary session, Minister Shokry pointed out Wednesday that certain parties aim for slowing down the journey of success the Somalian political leadership had embarked on by implicating the country in security and economic challenges. 

The minister shed light on the previous Egyptian warnings about Ethiopia’s unilateral policies, which are violations of international law and the principle of good neighboring. He noted that Ethiopia’s recent signing of an agreement with the unrecognized state of Somaliland to have access to the Red Sea was a proof of the Egyptian viewpoint given that such practices increase tensions in the region. 

Minister Shokry stipulated Egypt’s full support to Somalia, calling on all Arab and non-Arab states to express their respect to Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in alignment with the UN charter.

Somalia-Ethiopia tension revives memories of 1977

Somalia-Ethiopia tension revives memories of 1977


Source: BBC, Bushra Mohamed
Friday January 19, 2024


In this archive image Somali troops can be seen training during the 1977 war with Ethiopia

State media in Somalia have recently been broadcasting what some have described as an “incitement” song performed by the Somali police band.

It revives historical feelings of enmity towards Ethiopia in light of the controversial 1 January deal the country struck with the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland.

The lyrics relate to a territorial war fought nearly 50 years ago – in 1977 – between Ethiopia and Somalia.

“If you don’t want peace, we will give you a chance to remember what we did to you in 1977,” says the song.

In that conflict, Somali soldiers went deep inside Ethiopia, capturing a huge swathe of the country before being beaten back by a better equipped Ethiopian army.

Both sides claim victory.

The song, called Remember What We Did to You in 1977, plus two others also relating to Ethiopia, have been widely shared across social media by Somalis.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but this has not been recognised internationally.

The deal, which could see Somaliland leasing part of the coastline to Ethiopia, has caused profound offence in Somalia which sees this as Ethiopia as trying to take part of its sovereign territory.

Recently, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the country’s prime minister have publicly said that their ancestors have fought Ethiopia for many generations and defended their country, and they are obliged to do the same.

‘’The person who is dividing our people is an enemy, they deserve resistance, we used to fight with them for generations, we’re the same people, we haven’t changed,” President Mohamud said.

The country’s leadership has also described Ethiopia as a threat to its national security.

U.S. Special Envoy warns Ethiopia-Somaliland deal jeopardizes anti-al-Shabaab campaign

U.S. Special Envoy warns Ethiopia-Somaliland deal jeopardizes anti-al-Shabaab campaign


Source: Hiiraan Online, Friday January 19, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) – The United States has expressed concern over the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and the breakaway Somaliland region, stating that it threatens the fight against al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Speaking at the extraordinary session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Kampala on Thursday, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer mentioned that the United States recognizes the Federal Republic of Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, which includes Somaliland.

“We believe the status of Somaliland is an issue for Somalis, including Somalilanders, to decide. We are particularly concerned that the increase in tensions over the Memorandum of Understanding threatens to disrupt the fight that Somalis, along with Africans and regional and international partners – including the United States – are waging against al-Shabaab,” he said.

Ambassador Hammer urged Somalia and Ethiopia to avoid precipitous actions that could create opportunities for al-Shabaab to expand its reach.

The IGAD summit focused on the ongoing situation between the Ethiopia-Somalia and Sudan. IGAD strongly affirms the inalienable principle of protecting and preserving the independence, solidarity, and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Ambassador Hammer is expected to visit Addis Ababa from January 17 to 24.

CIA Director William Burns met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Mahad Salad, the head of the Somali National Intelligence Agency, in Mogadishu on Wednesday. Burns discussed various issues, including critical points of the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, “security cooperation, the fight against terrorism, and developments in the region.”

The ongoing crisis between Somalia and Ethiopia revolves around a controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on New Year’s Day. The agreement involves Ethiopia leasing a 20-kilometre coastal stretch in Somaliland for a commercial port and military base. The Somali government strongly opposes the deal, labelling it as “aggression” and a “clear violation of sovereignty.”

EU, AU, US say Sudan war and Somalia’s tension with Ethiopia threaten Horn of Africa’s stability

EU, AU, US say Sudan war and Somalia’s tension with Ethiopia threaten Horn of Africa’s stability


Source: AP, BY TOM ODULA
Friday January 19, 2024

The African Union, European Union, and United States called Thursday for an immediate cease-fire and constructive dialogue between warring factions in Sudan.

The groups also called for an end to tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over an agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region Somaliland.

Representatives of the groups, who spoke in Kampala, Uganda, after the meeting of an East African regional bloc, said that the two crises are threatening regional stability in the Horn of Africa.

Sudan’s armed forces and the rival Rapid Support Forces have been fighting for control of Sudan since April. Long-standing tensions erupted into street battles in the capital and other areas including the western Darfur region.

The AU, EU and U.S. and U.N noted that the fighting has displaced 7 million people and kept 19 million children out of school.

Michael Hammer, U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, called on Sudan’s factions to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and to fulfill recent commitments to stop fighting.

“It’s time for them to take action consistent with their stated claims that they want to stop the fighting and meet the needs of the people,” Hammer said.

He spoke after the regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, held an emergency meeting of heads of states in Kampala to discuss the Sudan war and rising tension between Somalia and Ethiopia.

Hammer said the leader of Sudan’s army, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who is known as Hemedti, must follow through on their promise at a Dec. 9 IGAD summit to reach an unconditional cease-fire.

“They will be responsible for the break up of Sudan if this conflict continues,” Hammer said.

The first step is an enforceable cease-fire that can be closely monitored, said Ramtane Lamamra, the U.N. envoy for Sudan.

“Guns must be silenced,” he said, adding that the war endangers “stability of the entire region and beyond.”

On Tuesday, the Sudanese government suspended ties with the east African regional bloc, accusing it of violating Sudan’s sovereignty by inviting the paramilitary leader to a summit. Hemedti attended Thursday’s summit in Kampala but did not speak.

Regarding Somalia, the AU, EU and U.S. said they recognize the country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, including the breakaway region of Somaliland.

Tension has been rising after land-locked Ethiopia signed an agreement on Jan. 1 with Somaliland to give it access to the sea. Somaliland in return expects Ethiopia soon to recognize the region as an independent state, which angers Somalia.

Hammer said the U.S. is particularly concerned that the tensions could undermine international-backed efforts to combat al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia.

Annette Weber, the EU special envoy for the Horn of Africa, said the two crises have a common link with Red Sea, which she called a critical waterway carrying 10 percent of global cargo.

Weber also said there needs to be a collective response among Horn of Africa countries against attacks on ships by Yemen-based Houthi rebels.

Search continues for US navy SEALs missing near Somalia

Search continues for US navy SEALs missing near Somalia


Source: Tuesday January 16, 2024


The SEALs went missing as they attempted to intercept a dhow carrying weapons (file photo)

The US navy is continuing its search for two navy SEALs who vanished off Somalia’s coast on Thursday night last week.

The navy is using ships and aircraft in the search operation that is under way in the Gulf of Aden.

The SEALs went missing as they attempted to intercept a dhow that was carrying weapons shipment, US defence officials have said.

One of the SEALs fell into the rough night-time waters while boarding the dhow, prompting the second SEAL to jump in after him for a rescue attempt.

Neither of them resurfaced.

The SEALs were part of a naval unit that has been intercepting weapons and other illegal shipments in the region, unrelated to the ongoing operation to protect vessels in the Red Sea from attacks by Yemen’s Houthis rebel group.

Saga of the UN Helicopter Downed in Al-Shabaab-controlled Part of Somalia

Saga of the UN Helicopter Downed in Al-Shabaab-controlled Part of Somalia

 Source: The Washington Post published on 12 January 2024 an article titled “Crew of Crashed U.N. Helicopter Waited an Hour for Rescue before Kidnap” by Katharine Houreld. 

A U.N. helicopter affiliated with the African Union peacekeeping mission crash landed this week in a section of Somalia controlled by al-Shabaab.  Before a rescue team arrived, most of the nine persons on board were captured by al-Shabaab.  A Somali doctor and Ugandan security officer reportedly escaped, and one person died.  The crew consisted of four Ukrainians.   

Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal, Position of China and US, and Red Sea Implications

Ethiopia-Somaliland Deal, Position of China and US, and Red Sea Implications

 Source: The South China Morning Post published on 14 January 2024 an article titled “China Set to Stay on Neutral Ground as a Red Sea Storm Brews Over Ethiopia’s Port Deal with Somalia” by Jevans Nyabiage.  

China supports the territorial integrity of Somalia and urges that countries in the Horn of Africa resolve their disagreement over the recent Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through dialogue. The US position is similar.  The MOU introduces, however, a new complicating factor in the politics of the countries in the Horn of Africa and those bordering the Red Sea. 

Tensions Growing Between Ethiopia and Somalia

Tensions Growing Between Ethiopia and Somalia

 Source: The Soufan Center, an independent and non-profit research organization based in New York, published on 11 January 2024 an intel brief titled “Tensions Growing Between Ethiopia and Somalia over Somaliland Port Deal.”

The analysis notes that the proposed deal is backed by the United Arab Emirates.  On the other hand, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, Egypt, and Turkiye have sided with Somalia against the Ethiopia-Somaliland deal.

UK issues travel warning for specific regions in Kenya

UK issues travel warning for specific regions in Kenya


Monday January 15, 2024


British High Commissioner, Neil Wigan (center) with Mandera leaders during his tour of the region/Courtesy

The United Kingdom has issued a travel warning for its citizens in Kenya, advising them to exercise caution and avoid touring specific regions of the country.

In its update to the terrorism section, the UK, through the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), has recommended that British nationals refrain from non-essential travel to certain areas in Kenya.

“Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice,” the office warned.

Top on the list in the UK travel warning, FCDO advised against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of Kenya’s border with Somalia.

Somalia has been grappling with the threat of al-Shabaab, a militant Islamist group, for over a decade. The group’s activities have spilled over into Kenya, raising concerns about security and stability in the region.

The FCDO also cautioned against non-essential travel to eastern Garissa County and Mandera County, except for the Mandera West sub-county.

British nationals have additionally been advised to avoid non-essential travel to Lamu County, excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island.

The UK travel warning extends to Tana River County, specifically areas north of the Tana River and within 15km of the coast between the Tana River and the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) River.

The listed areas have historically witnessed a higher frequency of terrorist attacks compared to other regions in Kenya.

Al-Shabaab commonly targets Kenyan security forces, and government installations, as well as soft targets such as hotels and transportation hubs in these specific regions.

The UK travel warning coincides with the eve of the fifth anniversary of the January 15, 2019, terrorist attack on the DusitD2 complex in Nairobi, where 21 people lost their lives.

Gunmen stormed the complex, which included a hotel, offices, and restaurants, resulting in a deadly terrorist attack claimed by the extremist militia group the al-Shabaab.

U.S. Navy SEALs missing in Somalia during anti-Houthi operations

U.S. Navy SEALs missing in Somalia during anti-Houthi operations


Source: Hiiraan Online, Sunday January 14, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) – Two U.S. Navy Seals remain missing following an operation off the coast of Somalia, as reported by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). According to sources cited by the Associated Press, these individuals were part of a night mission targeting a suspected arms-carrying vessel, separate from the broader U.S. military operations in the region. During the mission, one Seal was swept overboard, with the other following in a rescue effort. Search and rescue operations are underway, with details withheld for operational security.

In a related context, the U.S. military continues its offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen, with its stated aim to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea from missile and drone threats. On January 13, U.S. forces struck a Houthi radar site in Yemen, a follow-up to similar actions taken on January 12. These operations, involving the USS Carney and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, are part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a US-led effort to reduce the Houthis’ ability to attack maritime vessels.

Following the U.S. strikes, the Houthis vowed retaliation against American and British forces. They demonstrated their resolve with an attack on January 12, where a missile exploded near an unidentified ship approximately 90 nautical miles south of Aden in the Gulf of Aden. This incident, reported by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organizations (UKMTO) and later identified by TankerTrackers.com as involving a crude oil tanker, is among the latest in a series of maritime security threats in the region. Other vessels reported encounters with small boats, though no damages or casualties were reported.

The UKMTO has documented seven and eight incidents in 2024, an increase from 24 warnings issued in 2023. CENTCOM has counted 28 attempts by Iranian-backed Houthi militants to attack or harass vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 19, 2023.

Following Ethiopia-Somaliland deal, Somalia looks to Eritrea, Egypt for help

Following Ethiopia-Somaliland deal, Somalia looks to Eritrea, Egypt for help


Source: Al-Monitor, Wednesday January 10, 2024

The deal granting Ethiopia access to Somaliland’s coastline has raised the ire of Somalia, which considers Somaliland as part of its territory.

The recent agreement struck between Ethiopia and Somaliland continues to reverberate across the region, while Somalia, which claims Somaliland as part of its territory, reaches out to regional countries to mobilize support.

Last week, landlocked Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland reached an agreement that would give Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea through the port of Berbera in exchange for their recognizing Somaliland’s independence.

The deal was widely condemned by Somalia, which deemed it a violation of its territorial integrity. Even within Somaliland, a split within the government has come to the open about the agreement. On Sunday, Somaliland’s defense minister Abdiqani Mohamud Ateye resigned to protest the deal.

“Ethiopia remains our number one enemy,” Ateye said in an interview.

Landlocked Ethiopia, for its part, defended the agreement.

“No party or country will be affected by this memorandum of understanding. There is neither a broken trust nor any laws infringed due to the memorandum of understanding,” the Ethiopian government said in a statement last week.

Background

In 1960, the former British protectorate of Somaliland merged with the former Italian protectorate of Somalia to form the Republic of Somalia. In 1991, Somaliland declared its independence after years of civil war and the fall of Siad Barre’s regime in Somalia.

Although not recognized internationally, Somaliland has a functional government and an elected parliament.

The 177,000-square-kilometer territory lies on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden, a strategic waterway that connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country with a population of more than 123 million, has sought access to the sea ever since losing its Red Sea ports after Eritrea declared independence in 1991. Since then, Ethiopia has relied on a vital trade corridor with neighboring Djibouti, with more than 95% of its imports and exports passing through this main conduit, according to the World Bank.

Ethiopia pays around $1.5 billion annually to Djibouti in port fees, proving costly for the country, one of the poorest in the world, with a per capita gross national income of $1,020, per the World Bank.

Somalia’s reaction

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed on Saturday a law nullifying the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia.

“This law is an illustration of our commitment to safeguard our unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity as per international law,” he said in a post on X.

On Tuesday, Mohamud concluded a two-day visit to Eritrea, where he met with his Eritrean counterpart, Isaias Afwerki, to discuss regional developments.

Speaking to Eritrean state TV after his meeting with Afwerki, Mohamud said that “Eritrea has been in support of preserving the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Somalia.”

One day before embarking on his Eritrean visit, Mohamud hosted an Egyptian delegation dispatched by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the capital of Mogadishu.

During the meeting on Sunday, the delegation reiterated Cairo’s unwavering support for Somalia’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, a statement issued by the Somali presidency said.

The delegation also conveyed an official invitation to Mohamud to visit Egypt.

People stand next to the Independence Monument, depicting a hand holding a map of the country, in the city of Hargeisa, Somaliland, on September 19, 2021.  (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Egyptian-Somali relations have steadily grown since Mohamud’s election in June 2022. Cairo sought Mogadishu’s support in its dispute with Addis Ababa over the latter’s Grand Ethiopian Dam.

At the same time, Egypt has maintained balanced ties with Somaliland, and officials from both parties have exchanged visits in the past years.

What’s next

The controversial deal has raised concerns of its impact on the already volatile region. The US, European Union and African Union have all called on the concerned parties to exercise restraint and resolve their disputes through dialogue.

Just a week after the deal was struck, the military leaders of Ethiopia and Somaliland met in Addis Ababa on Monday to discuss military cooperation, according to a statement by the Ethiopian military on Facebook.

Somaliland minister quits over port deal with Ethiopia

Somaliland minister quits over port deal with Ethiopia


Source: BBC, Monday January 8, 2024

The defence minister of the self-declared republic of Somaliland has resigned in protest against a deal granting Ethiopia access to a seaport in the breakaway region of Somalia.

Abdiqani Mohamoud Ateye criticised Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi “for not consulting the council of ministers on the port deal with Ethiopia”, saying they “heard about it from the media”.

Mr Ateye hails from Somaliland’s Awdal region, where Ethiopia reportedly wants to set up its military base in the coastal town of Lughaya.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) reportedly gives landlocked Ethiopia access to the Red Sea in exchange for it recognising Somaliland as an independent state.

Somalia has termed the deal an act of “aggression” and recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa.

There are reports that Ethiopia’s ambassador to Somalia has also returned to Addis Ababa amid a diplomatic row between the two countries

Somali President arrives in Asmara for a two-day working visit


Source: Hiiraan online, Monday January 8, 2024

Asmara (HOL) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Asmara on Monday for a two-day working visit. The president and his delegation were warmly welcomed by President Isaias at Asmara International Airport.

The two presidents are scheduled to have a meeting on the diplomatic relationship between the two countries, as per Somali government officials.

The president’s visit to Asmara comes amid tensions arising from the seaport agreement in Addis Ababa on the first of this month between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi.

Just a day ago, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a law nullifying the agreement by the breakaway Somaliland region to grant Ethiopia access to the Red Sea in return for recognition as an independent nation.

Arab League backs Somalia in rejecting Ethiopia-Somaliland deal

Arab League backs Somalia in rejecting Ethiopia-Somaliland deal


Sourcfe: Arab News, Friday January 5, 2024

CAIRO: The League of Arab States and the Arab Parliament have voiced support for the Somali government in condemning a controversial deal between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Ethiopia this week signed an agreement granting it naval and commercial access to ports along Somaliland’s coast in exchange for recognition of the breakaway region’s independence.

The Arab League said that the memorandum of understanding violated Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Somalia vowed on Tuesday to defend its territory by any legal means and recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after Addis Ababa agreed the deal with Somaliland.

The agreement, signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi, will give Ethiopia access to the Red Sea port of Berbera.

Jamal Rushdi, spokesman for the secretary-general of the Arab League, condemned any deal that violates the sovereignty of the Somali state or attempts to take advantage of Somalia’s fragile internal situation.

He said that the Arab League supports the decision of the Somali Cabinet, which rejected the memorandum of understanding signed on Jan. 1, between Ethiopia and Somaliland as “null and void and unacceptable.”

Rushdi said the deal violates Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law.

The Arab League also warned that the agreement could increase the spread of extremist ideas at a time when the Somali state was making considerable efforts to confront the issue.

Meanwhile, the Arab Parliament called on Ethiopia to “adhere to the rules and principles of good neighborliness, respect for countries’ sovereignty, and not interfere in their internal affairs to achieve regional security and stability.”

The Arab Parliament voiced its support for Somalia in any legal action to maintain its stability and national sovereignty.