Somaliland President Muse Bhi Abdi landed on Bole International Airport Addis Ababa a few hours ago today. He is visiting Ethiopia at the invitation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad Ali. Is Ethiopia going to recognize Somaliland?
Somaliland is a self-proclaimed country in the Horn of Africa. Somalia claims that Somaliland is part of Somalia. The country has not been recognized by any world power so far. United Nations and other international bodies do not recognize Somaliland as an independent country.
Somaliland lies on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Ethiopia to the south and west, and Somalia to the east. Somaliland’s location is very strategic as tens of thousands of commercial ships pass through the Gulf of Aden annually.
The visit of the Somaliland President is of importance for both countries. Somaliland is in the quest for recognition. Ethiopia, being a landlocked country, is eyeing Somaliland’s ports.
Ethiopia mostly relies on its neighbor Djibouti’s ports for its import and export activities. Somaliland has inaugurated its newly constructed Berbera port which has the potential of becoming a hub of the region’s trade activities. Ethiopia is interested in using Somaliland’s Berbera and Zeyla ports.
It would not be easy for Ethiopia to recognize Somaliland as long as Somalia does not recognize Somaliland. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad and Somali President Abdullahi Farmajo have close ties. In 2018 Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a tripartite agreement. The three countries agreed to “build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties” and “promote regional peace and security”.