Ethiopia signs agreement to use Somaliland’s Red Sea port | News

The agreement will pave the way for the landlocked country to use the Berbera port.

Landlocked Ethiopia has signed an initial agreement with Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region to use its Red Sea port of Berbera, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office says.

The Horn of Africa country currently depends on neighboring Djibouti for most of its maritime trade.

Ethiopia was cut off from the coast after Eritrea broke away from Addis Ababa and formally declared independence in 1993 after a three-decade war.

“This has already been agreed with our brothers in Somaliland and an MoU has been signed [memorandum of understanding] “It has been signed today,” Abiy said Monday at a signing ceremony with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Abiy’s office described the agreement as “historic,” adding that it “will pave the way to realizing Ethiopia’s aspiration to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.”

“It also strengthens their political, economic and security partnership,” the prime minister’s office wrote in a post on X.

The deal comes months after Abiy said the country should assert its right to access the Red Sea, sparking regional concerns.

Abdi said that as part of the agreement, Ethiopia would be the first country to recognize Somaliland as an independent nation in due course.

The deal paves the way to allow Ethiopia to have commercial maritime operations in the region by giving it access to a leased military base on the Red Sea, said Abiy’s national security adviser, Redwan Hussien.

Somaliland would also receive a stake in state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Hussien said, without giving details.

Somaliland has not gained widespread international recognition despite declaring autonomy from Somalia in 1991. Somalia says Somaliland is part of its territory.

Somalia’s state media agency SONNA reported last week that after mediation efforts led by Djibouti, Somalia and Somaliland had agreed to resume talks aimed at resolving their disputes.

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