President of Somalia Accuses Ethiopia of Avoiding Negotiations

In a recent address to the House of Representatives, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused Somalia of seeking mediation from other countries instead of directly engaging with Ethiopia.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia responded, stating that Ethiopia is not ready to resolve the diplomatic tensions between the two nations through dialogue.

During his opening speech at the National Council on Saturday, July 6, 2024, President Mohamud emphasized his government’s desire to ease the diplomatic strain with Ethiopia.

However, he expressed frustration, stating that Ethiopia has shown no willingness to engage in dialogue.

This statement came after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s remarks a few days earlier, where he criticized the Somali government for “choosing to approach other countries and accuse us instead of talking to us.”

Addressing the issue of Somalia in response to questions from members of the House of Representatives last week, Prime Minister Ahmed stated, “There is no need to go from country to country to sue us; it is possible to come directly to Addis Ababa. We are ready to talk.”

President Mohamud countered by saying that the Ethiopian government has never made an effort to communicate with Somalia to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“Ethiopia, as a neighboring country, has never talked to us to solve current issues in cooperation,” he said, adding, “Instead, they go around and ask for mediation.”

The diplomatic tensions between the two countries escalated following Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s signing of a port agreement with Muse Bihi, the President of the self-governing Somaliland, in January.

This agreement led to strained relations, with Somalia taking measures such as expelling the Ethiopian ambassador from Mogadishu.

Ethiopia, however, remained silent on Somalia’s actions and maintained that the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Somaliland did not violate any country’s sovereignty.

Turkey has initiated negotiations to reconcile the conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia over the port issue.

Last week, the foreign ministers of the two countries met in Ankara for the first time to discuss the matter. It was announced that the second round of talks would be held again in Ankara in two months. The spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Nebiyu Tedla, stated in his weekly briefing that these talks aim to be free from foreign interference.

Ambassador Tedla also noted that the port issue is not the only topic on the agenda. The negotiations will also address the status of the peacekeeping mission deployed under the auspices of the African Union, among other issues.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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