Ethiopia & Somaliland Sign Agreement Facilitating Red Sea Port Use

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On Monday, landlocked Ethiopia formalized an initial agreement with Somaliland, the autonomous region of Somalia. The agreement focuses on utilizing the Berbera port located along the Red Sea, as announced by the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Currently, the Horn of Africa nation depends significantly on Djibouti, its neighboring country, for most of its maritime trade.

This has been now agreed with our Somaliland brothers, and an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed today,” Abiy stated during the signing ceremony alongside Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

The MoU establishes the pathway for Ethiopia to engage in commercial maritime operations in the region. This is achieved by providing access to a leased military base on the Red Sea, as detailed by Redwan Hussien, Abiy's National Security Adviser.

He mentioned that Somaliland would receive a portion of the government-owned Ethiopian Airlines in exchange, although he did not furnish additional information.

Despite declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has yet to secure broad international recognition. Somalia asserts that Somaliland remains an integral part of its territory.

The SONNA state media agency of Somalia reported last week that, following mediation led by Djibouti, Somalia and Somaliland have reached an agreement. The agreement is to recommence talks aimed at resolving their ongoing disputes.

(Dawit Endeshaw provided the report from Addis Ababa, with additional contributions by Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu. Bhargav Acharya crafted the written content, and Andrew Heavens handled the editing for Reuters.)