Ethiopia's Controversial Red Sea Access Agreement Sparks Regional Tensions

Wednesday January 17, 2024 - 10:54:27
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Staff Reporter
Somaliland Administration president, Muse Bihi Abdi sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, on January 1, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Somaliland Administration president, Muse Bihi Abdi sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, on January 1, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Cairo (Diplomat.so) - Ethiopia has entered into an illicit pact to secure access to the Red Sea, in collaboration with the leadership of the Somaliland administration, a region in northwestern Somalia seeking secession since 1991. The agreement, inked in Addis Ababa on January 1, has stirred anger not only within Somalia but across the region as various parties vehemently reject this contentious deal.
Reacting to the escalating crisis, the Arab League has urgently convened an emergency meeting at the ministerial level. Today's video conference aims to address the concerns surrounding Ethiopia's controversial agreement with the Somaliland administration.

Dr. Amani Al-Taweel, an expert in African affairs at the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, commented on the significance of the Arab ministerial meeting. She emphasized the need for concrete actions following the meeting and highlighted the importance of the anticipated recommendations. Al-Taweel urged Arab nations with political, economic, and diplomatic ties to Ethiopia to reject Addis Ababa's intrusion into Somali territory, deeming it a form of occupation.

Speaking to Okaz, Al-Taweel underscored the Arab League's responsibility in implementing the recommendations arising from the ministerial meeting. She expressed concern over the heightened tensions on the African continent and characterized Ethiopian encroachment in Arab lands as perilous and unacceptable.

Al-Taweel pointed out that Ethiopia's clandestine agreement with the Somaliland Administration would grant it access to the Red Sea, placing it among the countries bordering the strategic waterway. She stressed the importance of supporting Somalia in maintaining its territorial integrity.

The Egyptian expert also issued a warning about the potential consequences of weakening Somalia, foreseeing an expansion of the Al-Shabaab terrorist movement affiliated with Al-Qaeda throughout the country. Al-Taweel cautioned that continued Ethiopian intervention in Somalia could lead to either an African-African crisis or an Arab-African crisis. 

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