Somalia: Somaliland, Ethiopia Move to Formalize Maritime Deal - sources

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — Sources close to the negotiations have confirmed that the MoU between Somaliland and Ethiopia is on the brink of being formalized into an official document.

The MoU, initially signed on January 1 in Addis Ababa by Somaliland President Muse Bihi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, represents a significant step towards Ethiopia gaining access to the sea.

According to the terms of the MoU, Somaliland has agreed to lease 20 kilometers of its coastline to Ethiopia for 50 years. This area will serve as a strategic base for Ethiopian naval forces and construct a commercial port. In exchange for this concession, Ethiopia is expected to recognize Somaliland as a country.

President Muse Bihi is scheduled to return to Addis Ababa in the coming days to sign the finalized agreement, marking a pivotal moment in the relationship between the two sides.

The government of Somalia has expressed its opposition to the maritime agreement and remains uncertain about its next course of action. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has previously emphasized that Ethiopia is determined to secure its access to the sea, either through strategic negotiations or by force if necessary.

This development has far-reaching implications for the geopolitical landscape of the Horn of Africa, as it not only strengthens Ethiopia's maritime presence but also has the potential to reshape regional dynamics and alliances.

GAROWE ONLINE

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