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News: Somaliland rejects Somalia’s criticism of MoU with Ethiopia, calls it ‘sovereign decision’

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi signed the MoU in Addis Abeba on 01 January 2024 (Photo: Screenshot)

Addis Abeba – Somaliland has unequivocally rebuffed a recent statement made by Somalia regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

It asserts that the MoU signifies a “sovereign decision made by two independent nations” and is not contingent upon the approval of a third party.

In a statement issued on 11 February, 2024, Somaliland articulated that the agreement with Ethiopia is founded on principles of “mutual respect” and “aspirations for greater regional stability.”

On the same day, the government of Somalia urged the African Union (AU) and United Nations to denounce the MoU signed between Ethiopia and “the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland,” characterizing it as “illegal” and a “clear violation of Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.”

The government of Somalia contends that no regional administration, including Somaliland, possesses the authority to engage in agreements with foreign nations without federal consent. Somalia has formally invalidated the MoU, deeming it “null and void,” and has pledged to undertake “all necessary measures” to prevent its execution.

Moreover, Somalia indicated that the agreement is “a destabilizing factor” in the Horn of Africa, representing an “existential threat” to the African Union’s foundational principles of upholding member states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Somalia has urged the AU and UN to condemn what it views as Ethiopia’s “unwarranted aggression.”

Somalia has also expressed concerns that the MoU undermines recent advancements achieved by the federal government, such as debt relief, the lifting of the UN arms embargo, and accession to the East African Community trade bloc.

Additionally, Somalia cautioned that the non-binding agreement could potentially provide the terrorist group Al-Shabaab with an opportunity to exploit divisions and reverse progress made in counterterrorism efforts.

In response to Somalia’s assertions, Somaliland has accused Somalia of flagrantly disregarding international law and “the inherent right to self-determination” of Somalilanders. Furthermore, it underscored that the MoU respects the territorial integrity of all involved parties and fosters peaceful relations and cooperation.

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In addition, Somaliland has urged Somalia to “relinquish outdated assertions” concerning its status and to honor the collective will of Somaliland’s populace. It reiterated its position as an independent nation, governed by its own constitution and democratic principles, which empowers it to engage in agreements with consenting partners subject to legislative approval. AS

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