News: EZEMA applauds Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU as ‘a bold diplomatic move’, consistent with UN convention

Professor Berhanu Nega, leader of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (Ezema) (Photo: Screenshot)

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party (Ezema) said the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Ethiopia signed with Somaliland seeking access to the sea, is “a bold diplomatic move” consistent with article 125 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, aiming at mutual benefit with its neighbors. 

Despite lacking diplomatic recognition, Somaliland remains engaged with the international community, a global reality that the MoU leveraged in the interest of Ethiopia and the people of Somaliland, the party conveyed in a statement issued on Thursday.

Emphasizing the necessity of equitable access to maritime gateways, the party, which is led by education minister, Berhanu Nega (PhD), “asserts that these objectives should be pursued peacefully, diplomatically, and legally.”

“For landlocked countries like Ethiopia, this is not only an economic imperative but is also a matter of national security and survival,” the party noted, adding that securing a seaport corridor under Ethiopia’s sovereignty has been part of the party’s policy since 2019.

Nevertheless, Ezema cautioned the government against certain communications from state and affiliated media outlets that could inadvertently jeopardize ongoing diplomatic engagement. The party urged “careful vetting and rectification of reckless media campaigns and content,” emphasizing the need to uphold the rules and regulations of the global system as a respected member of the international community. 

“We must equally emphasize our adherence to established norms and protocols alongside our efforts to articulate, advance, promote, and defend our nation’s long-term development aspirations and strategic interests,” the party said.

“While securing direct access to the sea remains crucial, Ethiopia’s long-term strategic interest is best served by fostering collaboration with neighboring coastal nations,” the party asserted, highlighting the importance of putting regional integration at the crux of the matter, and “negotiating mutually beneficial agreements with neighboring countries, fostering regional cooperation, and ensuring transparent communications with all stakeholders”.

The party also drew attention to what it described as “potential constitutional violations arising from regional states engaging in foreign relations,” and argued that unless addressed promptly, this could further compromise the country’s national sovereignty. 

It stressed the need “to prioritize domestic stability and resolve internal conflicts through dialogue, emphasizing that safeguarding the nation’s interests historically has been undermined by internal unrest.”

On 10 January 2024, the Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council (EPPJC) had announced its “unanimous” support for the MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, following a review during their general assembly.  Regional councils of opposition groups including in Oromia and Amhara have also pledged support to the MoU.

The signing of the MoU on 01 January 2024, granting Ethiopia access to the sea in return for international recognition for Somaliland, escalated tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia, with Somalia deterring an Ethiopian airplane from landing in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland on Wednesday. AS

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