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The Somali government condemned an agreement Tuesday between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland, warning that such a deal violates national sovereignty and risks the stability of the Horn of Africa, Al Jazeera reported.
Earlier this week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi signed a deal that would allow landlocked Ethiopia to set up commercial marine operations in the Red Sea port of Berbera. It would also give Addis Ababa access to a leased military base on the Red Sea.
In return, Ethiopia promised to recognize Somaliland, technically part of Somalia, as an independent nation. The territory would also receive a share of the state-owned Ethiopian Airlines.
But the Somali government said the agreement was null and void, while describing Ethiopia’s step as “(endangering) the stability and peace of the region.” The government also recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia.
The deal is part of Ethiopia’s efforts to try to get access to the sea: Ethiopia became landlocked in 1991 following nearly three decades of conflict with Eritrean fighters seeking independence. Two years later, Eritrea declared its independence from Addis Ababa.
Since then, Ethiopia has relied on neighboring Djibouti for most of its maritime trade.
Meanwhile, Somaliland declared its autonomy from Somalia in 1991, but has not gained widespread international recognition for its independence since then.
Somalia insists that the region is still part of its territory.