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News: UNSC to convene over Ethiopia-Somalia tension despite opposition from Ethiopia

The UN Security Council meeting hall (Photo:UN)

Addis Abeba – UN Security Council members will convene this afternoon for closed consultations to address the situation between Ethiopia and Somalia under the “Peace and Security in Africa” agenda item. 

According to a think tank, the Security Council Report, France, holding the Council’s presidency for January, organized the consultations upon Somalia’s request in a letter dated 23rd January, citing Article 35 of the UN Charter.

Somalia expressed concerns over the recent MoU signed on 01 January 2024, between Ethiopia and Somaliland, granting Ethiopia a 20-kilometer naval base lease for 50 years in exchange for diplomatic recognition. 

In its 23rd January letter to the Council, Somalia argued the MOU “constitutes an unlawful transgression” of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, considering Somaliland as its “constituent part.” 

In response, Ethiopia sent a letter to the Council on January 26th expressing willingness to engage in dialogue under the AU but argued that “the UN Security Council should not discuss the issue since it is being considered by the AUPSC.”

Ethiopia outlined in the letter that the MOU “paves the way for Ethiopia to secure access to a sea outlet based on commercial bases and mutually acceptable terms in line with international norms.”

Despite Addis Abeba’s insistence, during today’s closed consultations, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, is expected to brief Council members, offering an opportunity for members to exchange views and discuss the way forward to preserve regional peace, stability, and security.

Several Council members, including China, the UK, and the US, as well as the European Union, previously expressed concerns about escalating tensions and stressed the importance of dialogue, cooperation, and de-escalation.

On Friday, Ethiopia’s ruling Prosperity Party (PP) decided to bring the MoU “to a practical agreement” while simultaneously giving attention to the principles of give and take to secure additional options to port access with other neighboring countries.” AS

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