Somalia nullifies Ethiopian deal to get access to sea

Over the weekend Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a law nullifying the agreement signed recently between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a part of northern Somalia not recognized by nearly all of the rest of the world.

Mohamud stated on social media that “this law is an illustration of our commitment to safeguard our unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity as per international law”.

Landlocked Ethiopia is looking to gain access to the Red Sea via the port of Berbera. About a week ago Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed signed a memorandum of understanding with Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland to lease an area of about 20 sq/km around the Red Sea port of Berbera. Somaliland would in return get a share of state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, plus recognition from Ethiopia that it is an independent nation.

Somaliland, in the Horn of Africa, is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Ethiopia to the south and west, and Somalia to the east. Since 1991, the territory has been governed by democratically elected governments. Currently it is internationally recognised by just one entity, Taiwan.