Mogadishu to never accept Ethiopia-Somaliland pact, Foreign Minister Ali Omar says

Friday April 12 2024

A Somali man reacts during a march against the Ethiopia-Somaliland port deal along KM4 street in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 11, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS


Somalia will never accept Ethiopia's plan to build a naval base in its breakaway region of Somaliland, but it would consider granting Ethiopia commercial port access if discussed bilaterally, Somalia's state minister for Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

Landlocked Ethiopia sparked a diplomatic row with Mogadishu in January by signing a deal with Somaliland to lease 20 kilometres of its coastline in return for recognising the region as an independent state.

Somalia called the deal illegal as it considers Somaliland as part of its territory even though it has had effective autonomy since 1991.

"Somalia will never accept (a) naval base ... Somalia is ready for commercial access in accordance with the international law of the sea," Somalia's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Omar told Reuters.

Read: Kenya offers deal to ease Ethiopia-Somalia spat

He added that Somalia was willing to discuss proposals so long as they meet the country's interests which are to "safeguard (our) sovereignty, political independence and unity".