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Ethiopia's UN envoy denounces Somalia's accusations over Somaliland MoU

Thursday February 22, 2024

FILE PHOTO - Ambassadir Tesfaye Yilma Sabo, Ethiopia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Mogadishu (HOL) - Ethiopia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Tesfaye Yilma Sabo, expressed "disappointment" over what he termed "unjustified accusations" made by Somalia during a UN Security Council briefing on February 19, 2024.

In a statement released, Ethiopia strongly objected to comments made by Somalia's UN representative during the briefing, labelling them as "outright false information" and part of "yet another unjustifiable accusation."

Somalia's Ambassador, Abukar' Baale' Dahir Osman, told the UN Security Council that Ethiopia's establishment of a military base in Somalia threatens regional stability. He warned of potential repercussions, including the resurgence of extremist groups like Al-Shabaab, and cautioned against Ethiopia's unilateral alteration of Somalia's borders.

Ambassador Osman also highlighted Ethiopia's attempt to block President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's access to the African Union summit, characterizing it as a violation of diplomatic norms.

While refraining from directly refuting the claims out of "respect for the ties of fraternity between the peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia," Sabo defended Ethiopia's justification of the recent port access agreement with Somaliland, describing it as "neither unprecedented nor contrary to international practices." The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland was portrayed as a "win-win partnership" aimed at securing Ethiopia a sea outlet, with no intention of undermining the interests of any other country.

The statement also underscored Ethiopia's "enormous sacrifices and contributions to the peace and security of Somalia," noting the loss of thousands of Ethiopian lives in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Sabo reiterated Ethiopia's readiness for dialogue with Somalia to uphold cooperative ties crucial to regional security. Emphasizing the enduring neighbourly relationship between the two countries, Sabo urged a shift towards partnership rather than engaging in damaging accusations.

During the February 19 briefing, Catriona Laing, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) expressed disappointment over the lack of "significant progress" following the AU summit aimed at defusing tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia.

The international community has mainly rallied behind Somalia, with countries such as Egypt, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union condemning Ethiopia's actions as a breach of Somalia's sovereignty.

In a direct response to the MoU, Somalia penned a ten-year defence pact with Turkey to protect its marine resources and maritime borders.


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