Ethiopia-Somaliland deal is blatant departure from Arab, African, Int’l constants: AL Secretary-General

Mohamed Hamouda , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the secretary-general of the Arab League (AL), reiterated a steadfast commitment to the sovereignty of Somalia and its federal government over all its territories, branding the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland region as a blatant departure from Arab, African, and international constants.

AL Secretary-General
Arab League Secretary-General and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud. Arab League Facebook Page.


The MoU has sparked vehement condemnation across all levels of Somali society — civil, popular, and official — from the presidency to the government and parliament, stated Aboul-Gheit during a meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud in Cairo on Saturday.

Aboul-Gheit emphasized the AL's earlier statement, rejecting any agreements or memoranda of understanding that undermine or violate Somalia's sovereignty.

He added that these (agreements or memoranda of understanding) should not exploit the intricacies and fragility of the internal Somali situation or attempt to take advantage of the stalled Somali negotiations regarding the relationship between Somali regions and the federal government.

President Sheikh Mahmoud praised the AL's supportive stance, underscoring Mogadishu's rejection of the MoU that infringes upon Somalia's sovereignty.

This meeting followed the extraordinary ministerial meeting of the AL held on 17 January in Cairo to support Somalia. During the AL ministerial meeting, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said Ethiopia has become a source of unrest among its regional surroundings and reasserted Cairo’s unwavering support for Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

These diplomatic efforts came in response to a controversial deal struck on 1 January between the breakaway region of Somaliland and Addis Ababa, giving Ethiopia access to the Red Sea. The deal infuriated Mogadishu, which considers it a violation of its sovereignty.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but the move has not been recognized internationally and is staunchly opposed by the central government in Mogadishu.

Egypt was among the first to support Somalia’s position rejecting the agreement. In a phone call with the Somali President Sheikh Mahmoud on 2 January, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi asserted Egypt’s firm position to stand by Somalia and support its security and stability.

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