Toronto – The Memorandum of Understanding that Ethiopia signed with Somaliland on January 1, 2024 in Addis Ababa was planned to be finalized within a month’s time.
As of now there are no signs of progress to the next stage. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has not released a statement regarding the status of the agreement. The 33 years old de facto government of Somaliland – Somalia’s break away region which the government of Somalia refers to as Northern Somalia – has not released an update regarding it either.
Recently, Somaliland Foreign Affairs has recently released a statement condemning foreign interference in reaction to Egyptian rhetoric against the MoU agreement with Ethiopia.
Abiy Ahmed led the ruling party central committee held an evaluative meeting at the end of January and reportedly rated the agreement as positive and expressed a commitment for its finalization and implementation.
The MoU has triggered tension in the region. The government of Somalia has been outraged about it. It saw the agreement as a violation of the sovereignty of Somalia. Abiy Ahmed’s government has been reportedly attempting to explain the matter to Mogadishu but delegates were not given a chance to meet officials. Somalia went further and at one point denied a chartered Ethiopian Airlines plane an airspacewhen it was flying to Hargeisa.
In addition to mobilizing Egypt, Eritrea and the Arab League, Somalia, on January 23, asked for an urgent security council meeting to discuss its dispute with Ethiopia. According to sources, Somalia cited Article 35 of the UN Charter to justify its application for a meeting. which states that any UN member state “may bring any dispute, or any situation referred to in Article 34 [that is, one that may lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute] to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly”.
Based on local reports, the UN Security council seems to have resolved that the dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia be resolved at the IGAD and African Union level. The Reporter cited a Spokesperson of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Meles Alem, as saying “The UN Security Council recommends that Ethiopia and Somalia resolve their differences through IGAD and the AU.” Ethiopia has requested for an IGAD meeting although it opted to not attend one that was called in Kampala last month.
Somalia has stated that there is “no space for negation” with Ethiopia before the MoU is retracted. State and non-state actors have been calling for a calm and a peaceful negotiation