Ethiopia and Somalia Begin Negotiations in Ankara

Ethiopia and Somalia have initiated negotiations in Ankara. Turkey has begun mediating between Ethiopia and Somalia, whose relations have recently deteriorated.

According to Reuters, citing sources close to the matter, the negotiations are taking place in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

However, neither the Turkish government nor the representatives from Ethiopia and Somalia have yet confirmed these reports.

Somalia media outlets have reported that a delegation led by the country’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Mualim Feqi, departed for Turkey yesterday.

Nonetheless, Somalia’s Foreign Ministry has not confirmed this information. Similarly, an official from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declined to comment on the negotiations purportedly underway in Ankara.

A spokesman for the Somaliland government informed Reuters that Somaliland is not participating in the talks.

The strained relations between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu are believed to stem from a port agreement that Ethiopia reached with the self-governing region of Somaliland in January 2024.

Somalia, which considers Somaliland as part of its territory, has taken various measures against this memorandum of understanding, deeming it “illegal and a violation of sovereignty.”

In response to the agreement, Somalia decided to close the Ethiopian consulates in Somaliland and Puntland and expelled the Ethiopian ambassador.

Additionally, Somalia has threatened to expel Ethiopian peacekeepers if Ethiopia does not cancel the agreement with Somaliland.

Turkey, reportedly making efforts to resolve the months-long tension between Ethiopia and Somalia through dialogue, is a key partner of the Somali government.

Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Mogadishu in late 2011, Ankara began training Somalia’s security forces and constructing schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure.

It is noteworthy that one month after Ethiopia and Somaliland reached their agreement, Turkey and Somalia signed a 10-year military agreement.

This agreement aims to bolster the Somalia Navy and combat the threat of terrorism jointly. A Turkish ship, intended to protect Somalia’s maritime territory, recently arrived in Somalia.

Turkey, maintaining good relations with Ethiopia, has positioned itself as a mediator in the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia.

The President of Somaliland, Muse Bihi, stated a month ago that Somaliland expects to gain its first international recognition from Ethiopia in exchange for granting Ethiopia access to a seaport through Somaliland.

On the other hand, the Ethiopian government has repeatedly affirmed that its stance on the Somaliland port agreement, signed in Addis Ababa last January, remains unchanged.

Ethiopia is one of the countries that have contributed peacekeeping troops to Somalia under the umbrella of the African Union to combat the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. Other contributing countries include Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi.

Somalia has announced two weeks before that it expects all Ethiopian soldiers on a peacekeeping mission in its country to be completely withdrawn by December 2024.


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