Bihi: Implementation of Ethiopia-Somaliland Red Sea deal is unstoppable


HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi says he is confident that the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia will be achieved, adding that those opposed to it are 'living in denial' and that that should embrace 'reality'.

There have been undertones that the MoU will not see the light of the day with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accusing Ethiopia of infringement of Somalia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty which he maintains that the country will defend 'viciously'.

But Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi said he is “sure” the Memorandum Of Understanding signed with Ethiopia will be implemented “shortly.” Bihi said the MOU will shortly be submitted before Somaliland’s legislative branches for approval.

He was speaking on Saturday during the 33rd-anniversary celebrations when Somaliland proclaimed independence from the rest of Somalia. Somaliland signed the deal in January this year, leading to condemnation from members of the international community.

The government of Ethiopia has never commented openly on the matter but sources say Ethiopia could abandon the plan after an outcry from the international partners who maintain that the matter could affect the stability of the Horn of Africa region.

Should the MoU be implemented, Ethiopia will claim 20 kilometers of the Red Sea for the next 50 years and will build the naval base and port. In return, Addis Ababa would recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state, over three decades after separating from Somalia.

However, Somalia maintains that Ethiopia must withdraw the MoU should there be any talks, adding that it is ready to fight against 'annexation'. Already, Somalia signed a defence agreement with Turkey which would see Ankara protect its 3,333 kilometers coastline.

Somaliland separated from Somalia following a civil war in 1991 and since then, it has been fighting for international recognition. But most members of the international community are for a one-Somalia unity which informs resource mobilisation and dispatchment.


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