MoU with Ethiopia will be implemented even if you bring Turkey, Bihi tells Somalia president

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The controversial agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland will be implemented, Muse Bihi Abdi maintains, noting that there will be no change to the deal, which was signed over seven weeks ago, leading to outrage from several stakeholders.

Mr. Abdi, who is the leader of the breakaway region of Somaliland, said the region will ensure the agreement is implemented, even if President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud 'invites Turkey and Egypt' to the conflict, which could destabilize the Horn of Africa.

He referred to Wednesday's defense and economic cooperation agreement between Somalia and Turkey, along with a similar commitment between Mogadishu and Cairo.

"The agreement [Red Sea access MoU] with Ethiopia will be implemented, and you cannot change it, either bring Egypt or Turkey," Somaliland leader Muse Bihi tells Hassan Sheikh, vowing his administration will continue airspace disruptions.

He made the remarks after Somalia approved a 10-year defense and economic pact with Turkey today. The agreement, widely celebrated upon approval by Parliament, covers maritime defense and economic cooperation.

In his address, Hassan Sheikh maintained that the deal with Turkey is not against Ethiopia, arguing that Somalia doesn’t want to fight against any other country. "Somalia doesn’t want to see foreign countries fighting within its territory," he said.

The president reiterated that the agreement will fight piracy, terrorism, illegal fishing, drugs, and illegal maritime activities. Work on this agreement has been ongoing for some time, it’s not related to the tension with Ethiopia, he said.

Turkey was the first country to provide Somalia with direct budgetary support. Turkey set up the biggest overseas military training facility in Somalia to train thousands of Somali forces to fight terrorism, with the GorGor troops playing a pivotal role in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Both Egypt and Turkey have vowed to defend Somalia’s 3,333-kilometer coastline, rich in minerals and other maritime resources. Ethiopia is seeking 20 kilometers of the Red Sea within Somalia for the establishment of a military base and port.

The defense cooperation allows Turkey to train and Equip Somalia's Navy, which will be tasked to guard the coastline in the future. Turkey has been supporting the Horn of Africa nation since 2011, and has often played a 'big brother role' during catastrophes.

GAROWE ONLINE

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