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Ethiopia Criticizes Somalia Over Port Deal Diplomatic Standoff

Addis Ababa — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delivered a sharp rebuke to the
Somali government on Wednesday, accusing Mogadishu of avoiding dialogue to resolve a
diplomatic dispute that has strained relations between the two nations in recent months.

In an address to Parliament on July 4th, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed emphasized the ease
with which the tensions could be resolved if Somali leaders were willing to engage in direct
talks.

The dispute originated from an agreement signed earlier this year between Ethiopia
and Somaliland, which Mogadishu has vehemently opposed, citing concerns over
sovereignty.

“It would take an hour-long flight to sit and discuss. If only Somali leaders were willing to sit
for talks instead of going from country to country accusing Ethiopia,” stated Prime Minister
Abiy Ahmed during his parliamentary address.

Ethiopia, a landlocked nation, views the access to ports in Somaliland as critical for its
economic and demographic growth. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended the agreement
with Somaliland, stating it was reached after unsuccessful attempts to engage Somalia in
discussions.

“We respect Somalia’s sovereignty. However, any deal between Somaliland and Ethiopia is
not Somalia’s business,” affirmed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, highlighting Ethiopia’s
commitment to regional cooperation and economic progress.

The Ethiopian government has faced strong opposition from Mogadishu, which has labeled
the agreement as “null and void” and sought international mediation through organizations
like the AU, UN, and the Arab League. Despite these efforts, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
criticized Somalia for not prioritizing direct negotiations over international diplomacy.

Earlier this week, Turkey hosted preliminary talks between Ethiopian Foreign Minister Taye
Atskeselassie and his Somali counterpart Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, signaling a potential
breakthrough in the standoff.

The escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia underscore broader regional
dynamics and the strategic significance of maritime access in the Horn of Africa.

As diplomatic efforts continue, the international community remains watchful of
developments that could impact stability in the region.

Mr. Ahmed concluded his address by reiterating Ethiopia’s respect for Somalia’s
sovereignty and expressed hope for a swift resolution through dialogue, emphasizing the
mutual benefits of cooperation for both nations.

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