Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-Turkey is set to host renewed talks between Somalia and Ethiopia in an effort to resolve the diplomatic dispute sparked by the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the breakaway republic of Somaliland and Ethiopia. The MoU, signed on January 1, granted Ethiopia a 20-kilometer sea access, a move that Somalia has vehemently opposed, describing it as null and void and an aggression against its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Previous mediation attempts by Djibouti and Kenya failed to resolve the conflict. International partners have expressed their solidarity with Somalia, emphasizing the need to respect its sovereignty. Turkey’s upcoming mediation marks the third attempt to settle the ongoing dispute.

Somali Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh Ali, and another female official from Villa Somalia are expected to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for July 1st next week according to an exclusive report obtained by Mogadishu24. On the Ethiopian side, Foreign Minister Taye Atske Selassie will participate.

The renewed mediation efforts come a day after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud articulated his government’s stance on Ethiopia’s access to the sea. President Mohamud emphasized that while Somalia does not oppose Ethiopia reaching the sea, it must be done in a manner consistent with international norms and respectful of Somalia’s sovereignty.

“Somalia has always been open to allowing access to its seas. We welcome Ethiopia’s desire to reach our coast, but we want it to be under fair terms, similar to how other landlocked countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi access neighboring countries’ coastlines. We want Ethiopia to reach the Somali coast in a manner consistent with international norms,” President Mohamud stated.

In a related diplomatic effort, Qatar’s Emir has spoken to both Ethiopian and Somali leaders by phone to deescalate the tensions in the region.

The ongoing conflict occurs amid Somalia’s intensive military efforts against Al-Shabaab, with thousands of Ethiopian troops, both ATMIS and non-ATMIS, involved in operations. The outcome of the Turkish-hosted talks remains uncertain, but they represent a critical step towards finding a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic row.

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