Kampala (diplomat.so) - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for diplomatic dialogue between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu to address the escalating tensions arising from Ethiopia's recent maritime agreement with the Somaliland Administration, located in the Northwestern region of Somalia. The deal, signed on January 1 in Addis Ababa, grants Ethiopia crucial access to the Red Sea.
In response, Somalia has rejected the possibility of mediation unless the agreement is revoked, expressing its determination to safeguard its sovereignty through "all legal means." Guterres, speaking at a press conference during the G77 plus China summit in Uganda, emphasized the importance of respecting the principles of unity, sovereignty, and territorial independence of countries, including Somalia, expressing hope that dialogue could resolve the current situation.
The United States, UK, China, the European Union, African Union, and Arab League, among other international partners, have collectively voiced their appeal for the involved parties to uphold the sovereignty of Somalia. The maritime pact, denounced by Mogadishu as an illegal deal and act of "aggression" by Ethiopia, entails a 50-year lease of 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the Awdal region's coast in Somalia to Ethiopia. The agreement aims to facilitate the establishment of a naval base and a commercial port by Ethiopia in the region. The historical backdrop of strained relations and territorial disputes between Ethiopia and Somalia, marked by two wars in the late 20th century, adds complexity to the current geopolitical situation in the Horn of Africa.