Egypt won't allow any threat to Somalia: Sisi

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi affirmed on Sunday that Egypt will not allow any threat to Somalia or its security, expressing Cairo's full rejection of interfering in Somalia's affairs or undermining its territorial integrity.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi holds a press conference with his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Cairo, 21 January 2024. Photo: Egyptian Presidency


During a press conference with the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Cairo, El-Sisi further stressed that Somalia is an Arab country with rights within the common defense and that the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland "is unacceptable to anyone."

"Somalia is an Arab state in the Arab League with rights, according to the Charter of the League, to collective defense against any threat it faces," El-Sisi said. "We are not threatening anyone; we are stating this for clarity," he stressed.

"We will not allow anyone to threaten Somalia or infringe upon its territory. I say with utmost clarity, no one should attempt to threaten Egypt's brothers, especially if our brothers have requested our presence alongside them," the Egyptian president said.

Addressing the Ethiopians, El-Sisi said that they may have the opportunity to benefit from the ports on the Red Sea in Somalia, Djibouti, or Eritrea "through traditional means," expressing his full rejection of Ethiopia's deal with Somaliland, describing it as an "attempt to control another territory."

"Egypt believes that cooperation and development between countries are much better than anything else," El-Sisi stressed, urging for coordination and dialogue and avoiding threatening regional security and stability.

The Egyptian president also congratulated his Somali counterpart on the successes achieved in Somalia, regarding writing off Somalia's debts and lifting the ban imposed on Somalia since 1991 on the supply of equipment and weapons.

El-Sisi further highlighted Somalia's successful efforts in combating terrorism, which had had a significant impact on Somalia's instability for nearly three decades.

From his side, the Somali president stressed that his country considers Egypt a strategic ally, looking forward to more fruitful cooperation between both nations.

He also expressed his sincere thanks to El-Sisi for Egypt's immediate support and condemnation of Ethiopia for their illegal attempt to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.

Speaking on the current tensions in the Red Sea, the Somali president stressed that the Red Sea is an essential part of global trade, given its provision of current and future opportunities for all countries, especially the neighbouring countries and the Arabian Gulf.

Tensions in the Horn of Africa have escalated after Somaliland agreed on 1 January to lease 20 kilometres of its coast for 50 years to Addis Ababa, which wants to set up a naval base and a commercial port in that area, giving the landlocked Ethiopia long-desired access to the Red Sea.

Following this deal, Egypt reasserted its firm position to stand by Somalia and support its security and stability, emphasizing the necessity of full respect for the unity and sovereignty of Somalia over its lands and expressing its full rejection of any measures that would undermine Somalia's sovereignty.

Last week, the Somali foreign ministry said there is no space for mediation unless Ethiopia retracts its illegal and controversial deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.

The agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland was announced only days after Mogadishu agreed to resume dialogue with the separatist northern region after years of stalemate.

Somaliland has been seeking full statehood since claiming independence from Somalia in 1991, a move fiercely opposed by Mogadishu and not recognized internationally.

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