Somalia: There will be no direct talks with Ethiopia until MoU is withdrawn


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia maintains there will be no direct talks with Ethiopia until the controversial agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland is rescinded by the rule of law, including the unanimous decision by Parliament to outrightly reject it.

Somaliland signed an agreement with Ethiopia which if implemented, would see the country getting 20 kilometers of the Red Sea to construct port and naval base. In return, Ethiopia has agreed to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state.

But the deal has met fierce opposition from Somalia, which accuses Ethiopia of infringement on its territorial integrity and sovereignty, leading to campaigns for support from the world. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has led the campaigns, calling for Ethiopia to withdraw.

Sources say that a back-channel diplomatic effort by Kenya and Djibouti to solve the dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia over the controversial MoU has ended without a conclusion. Kenya President William Ruto met Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed separately in Nairobi.

The source says representatives from Somalia and Ethiopia have been in Nairobi in recent days but officials from the two countries have not met or engaged in talks directly. Kenya has been conducting actual back-channel diplomacy, an effort reportedly blessed by Kenya President William Ruto.

Further, the source says Somalia’s position was clear - that there will be no direct talks unless Ethiopia abandons the MoU which was declared “illegal” by Somalia’s parliament and signed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud last month..

Somaliland said it has started implementing the deal, noting that Ethiopia should reciprocate to avoid delays. Should Ethiopia comply with the agreement, it will be the first country in the world to recognize the breakaway region of Somaliland as a country.


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