The Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Abeba. Photo credit: ©Getty
Addis Abeba – The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), called on Ethiopia and Somalia “to exercise restraint, de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue” following the 1192nd meeting by the PSC held today in which it considered the situation between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Earlier today, an Ethiopian Airlines plane bound for Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, was rerouted by Somalia’s Aviation Authority before entering Somali airspace, raising fears of heightened tensions between the two countries in the volatile Horn of Africa following a “historic” MoU Ethiopia signed with Somaliland to “secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.”
The Ethiopian government said part of the MoU “includes provisions for the Ethiopian government to make an in-depth assessment towards taking a position regarding the efforts of Somaliland to gain recognition.”
But the MoU has angered Mogadishu, which declared the MoU “null and void” and subsequently engaged in galvanizing the international community to denounce and invalidate the MoU.
Speaking at the Arab League emergency meeting held today to discuss the matter, Prime Minister of the Somalia Hamza Abdi Barre accused Ethiopia of plans “to control the entrances to the Red Sea, threatening global trade and navigation.” He called on Arab countries “to unite and stand with Somalia in confronting this aggressive plan.” Somalia, which considers Somaliland as part of its norther territory, has so far accused Ethiopia of violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity my making a deal with Somaliland, a breakaway state since 1991.
In its statement today, AU’s Peace and Security Council urged “external actors to abide by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the two AU Member States” while it encouraged Ethiopia and Somalia “to refrain from further actions and pronouncements that could negatively impact the strong bonds of good neighbourliness, friendship and solidarity existing between them.”
The Council said it “unequivocally reaffirmed its strong commitment and support for preserving the unity, territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all Member States”, including those of Ethiopia and of Somalia.
Furthermore, it requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat “to expeditiously deploy” the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Nigeria, to foster dialogue between the two countries and provide regular updates to the