Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-Leaders in Somalia, including former and current politicians, MPs, and ministers, condemned the memorandum of understanding signed between Somaliland and Ethiopia on Monday, which involves leasing 20KM of the sea to Ethiopia.

Somaliland President, Muse Bihi announced that his administration has leased 20 kilometers of sea in exchange for recognition from Ethiopia.

“In exchange for 20KM sea access for the Ethiopian Naval Forces, leased for a period of 50 years, Ethiopia will formally recognize the Republic of Somaliland, setting a precedent as the first nation to extend international recognition to our country,” President Bihi said.

This announcement agreement has raised concerns among the leaders of Somalia, with both current and former politicians accusing Ethiopia of violating Somalia’s territorial integrity.

Somali leaders accused Ethiopia of violating Somalia’s sovereignty as a nation and disregarding international and regional laws.

Somali Minister of Petroleum, Abdirizack Mohamed stated that Somaliland, a regional administration under the federal government doesn’t have the mandate to sign military agreement or lease part of land to a foreign country, entity or organisation.

“Somalia is indivisible, its sovereignty and territorial integrity is uncompromisable. Ethiopia knows well that it can’t sign a military pact/MOU to lease a port with a regional head of state, that mandate is the prerogative to the federal government of Somalia. Ethiopia has no carte Blanche to violate our territorial integrity,” said Minister Abdirizack Mohamed.

Special presidential envoy on Drought Response, Abdirahman Abdishakur accused Ethiopia of disregarding the rules of the UN, AU and IGAD that protect the sovereignty of the member states.

“The Ethiopian government, led by Abiy Ahmed, has violated the sovereignty of the Somali nation. Furthermore, they have shown a disregard for the rules of the UN, AU & IGAD, which aim to protect the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of member states,” said Abdirahman Abdishakur.

He stated that this may have a negative impact on regional stability and hinder relations between Ethiopia and Somalia.

“These actions pose a threat to the harmonious relations between the two countries, potentially resulting in regional instability,” he added.

Former presidents and prime ministers of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Hassan Ali Kheyre, and Mohamed Hussein Roble, accused Ethiopia of violating Somalia’s territorial integrity and called for a response from the Somali government.

“The agreement signed by Ethiopia with Somaliland today is a serious concern for Somalia and the whole of Africa. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the anchor for regional stability and bilateral cooperation. The Somali government must respond appropriately,” said Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, former Somali President.

“I condemn the ‘illegitimate’ agreement reached in Addis Ababa by Ethiopia and the Somaliland President whose term ended. This agreement is a violation of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Hassan Ali Kheyre, former Somali Prime Minister.

He added, “Ethiopia and Somalia are two neighboring countries with mutual respect for their sovereignty, but we will never accept the move by Ethiopia to take part in our sea.”

Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed stated, “The agreement reached in Ethiopia today between the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Somaliland President is a violation of our sovereignty as a country and against international laws.”

Sharif urged the Ethiopian government to safeguard the neighbourhood and the existing relationship between the two countries.

Somalia’s Cabinet Ministers have called for an emergency meeting, with a statement expected to be released soon.

President Hassan Sheikh is also expected to hold a joint parliamentary address starting from 11.00 AM today at Villa Hargeysa.

Although the Ethiopian government didn’t confirm whether it will extend recognition to Somaliland, it has confirmed the leasing of the Naval base from Somaliland.

“A step ahead in the right direction for this and generations to come. FDRE signed MOU with Somaliland for Partnership and cooperation which paves the way for accessing a leased Military base on the Red Sea,” said Redwan Hussein, the National Security Advisor to the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

Analysts argue that this move by Ethiopia will halt the negotiation process between Somalia and Somaliland mediated by President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Last week, Somalia and Somaliland agreed on the roadmap process and will establish a technical committee tasked with facilitating discussions within a 30-day timeframe.

In a joint statement, both parties committed themselves to refrain from using inflammatory words, comments, or any other actions that may negatively impact the ongoing discussions.

In November , Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that Ethiopia will seek access to seawater by any means.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement, the Eritrean government announced the suspension of official maritime bilateral talks to grant landlocked Ethiopia access to the sea.

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