July 19, 2024

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Somalia Ethiopia: Somalia Expels Ethiopian Ambassador

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Somalia Ethiopia: Somalia today declared Ethiopian ambassador persona non grata, marking heightened tension in bilateral relations.

The tensions between the two Horn of Africa countries rose in January this year when Ethiopia signed a controversial MoU with Somaliland. Somaliland is internationally recognized part of Somalia. But self declared country Somaliland has been operating as a separate entity for more than 3 decades.

The controversial MoU, which could not translate into an agreement due to resistance from Somalia, would grant landlocked Ethiopia access to the sea in return for Ethiopia recognizing Somaliland as an independent country. Somalia vowed to stop the implementation of the MoU and recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia earlier this year.

Ethiopian Prime Minister’s attempt to talk to Somalia’s President did not bear fruit. He involved leaders from Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda too. But no direct meeting or phone call happened between the two leaders this year.

This month another internal controversy arose in Somalia when federal parliament approved constitutional amendments, opposed by Puntland, a federal member state of Somalia. Puntland rejected the amendments and vowed to operate as a self governing region until the withdrawal of the constitutional changes.

Immediately after Puntland cut off links with Mogadishu, it sent a senior delegation to Addis Ababa for bilateral talks. This move angered Somalia. Somalia responded today by expelling Mukhtar Mohammed, Ethiopia ambassador to Somalia. Reportedly the Council of Ministers of Somalia further directed closure of the Ethiopian consulates in Hargeysa (Somaliland) and Garowe (Puntland).

So far Ethiopia has not officially responded to his move by Somalia’s government. It seems Somalia-Ethiopia relations are set to deteriorate more. Last month Djibouti’s foreign minister revealed that Djibouti and Kenya were mediating between Ethiopia and Somalia and the 2nd meeting in this regard was due to be held in Djibouti.

It seems efforts to de escalate tension between the two HoA neighbors could not bear fruit. Somalia earlier this year announced that it would not talk to Ethiopia until Ethiopia withdraws from the MoU.

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Puntland announces to operate as a self governing region