The ambassador of Ethiopia was kicked out amid the port deal dispute

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Somalia has announced the expulsion of Ethiopia’s ambassador from the country amid rising tensions over a port deal dispute in the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Ethiopian Ambassador Mukhtar Mohamed was sent home for consultations, the office of Somalia’s prime minister said on Thursday.
The dispute arose after landlocked Ethiopia agreed on a memorandum of understanding on January 1 to lease 20km (12 miles) of coastline in Somaliland.
‘Landgrab’ Somalia claims Somaliland as its own territory, even though the northern region has enjoyed effective autonomy since 1991.
Somalia says the deal amounts to a landgrab, while Ethiopia says the deal is of a commercial nature and vital to its economic needs.
Somalia also felt that the Ethiopian government bypassed Mogadishu in reaching the deal, Al Jazeera’s Soi said.
Adding to the tension was Ethiopia’s recent meeting with officials from the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia to discuss “bilateral” cooperation, she added.
Mohamud said Ethiopian assets would have to cross into Somalia’s territory to reach the leased area and warned Addis Ababa against taking such a step.

NEUTRAL

A dispute over a port deal in Somaliland, a breakaway region of the country, has led to increased tensions, and Somalia has announced the expulsion of Ethiopia’s ambassador.

The prime minister of Somalia’s office announced on Thursday that Ethiopian Ambassador Mukhtar Mohamed had been sent home for consultations. Ethiopia is also closing its consulates in Mogadishu in the capital cities of Puntland, which is semi-autonomous, and Hargeisa, which is the largest city and capital of Somaliland.

Ali Omar, Somalia’s Foreign Minister, added in a brief statement on X that Mohamed has been given 72 hours to depart the country due to what he called “Ethiopian interference” in Mogadishu’s “internal affairs.”.

He wrote that Somalia “stands firm on its sovereignty.”. “We are unwavering in our determination to defend our territory. “.

Reporting from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Catherine Soi of Al Jazeera described the expulsion as a significant diplomatic step up.

“It seems like there will be a significant setback” in attempts to reach a peaceful resolution to the agreement, Soi declared.

The conflict started when Ethiopia, a landlocked country, decided to lease 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Somaliland’s coastline on January 1.

Ethiopia will be allowed to use the coastland surrounding the port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden for both military and commercial purposes for 50 years as per the agreement.

Ethiopia protested and became enraged, accusing Ethiopia of attempting to annex a portion of its territory. They also feared that the agreement would further destabilize the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia claimed it intended to establish a naval base there and offered potential recognition of Somaliland in exchange.

Grab a land grab.

Although the northern region has had effective autonomy since 1991, Somalia still claims Somaliland as its own territory.

Ethiopia claims the agreement is of a commercial nature and essential to its economic needs, while Somalia claims it amounts to a land grab.

According to Al Jazeera’s Soi, Somalia believed that the Ethiopian government reached the agreement without consulting Mogadishu.

She continued, saying that Ethiopia’s recent meeting to discuss “bilateral” cooperation with officials from Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region had added to the tension.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared in a January exclusive interview with Al Jazeera that his nation would “defend itself” in the event that Ethiopia carried out the agreement.

In order to access the leased area, Mohamud said Ethiopian assets would need to cross into Somalia’s territory. He issued a warning to Addis Ababa against making such a move.

Ethiopians haven’t entered Somalia as of yet. That will be a different kind of issue if they do, according to Mohamud.

Additionally, he charged that days before the Memorandum of Understanding was signed, in late December, during their “very good” talks on the “unity” of Somalia in Djibouti, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had kept him “in the dark” about the agreement with Somaliland.

He responded that Ethiopia was in charge when asked if he believed there could be a win-win resolution to the situation, which has heightened concerns of a protracted diplomatic spat.

Without a doubt, Mohamud stated, “We want Ethiopia to have access to the sea,” and the federal government was prepared to work with Addis Ababa to reach an agreement.

But we’re not prepared to seize a plot of land. “.

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