Update: Somalia gives Ethiopia envoy 72 hrs, summons its envoy from Addis

Addis Abeba – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somalia issued an official statement confirming Ethiopia’s Ambassador Muktar Mohamed Ware “has been informed to depart from Somalia within the next 72 hours.”

The Ministry also said its Ambassador to Addis Abeba is “summoned back to Mogadishu for comprehensive consultations.”

“These measures were taken in the interest of safeguarding the sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the official communique said.

The decision follows the resolution passed by the Council of Ministers in response to “the actions” of the government of Ethiopia, “which infringe upon Somalia’s sovereignty and internal affairs,” the statement said without mentioning the specific action in question.

Somalia also said the Ethiopian Consulates General in Hargeisa and Garowe, the capital cities of Somaliand and Puntland, “are to be closed within a period of seven (7) days.”

Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Somalia plummeted to a new low following the signing on 01 January of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland, granting Ethiopia access to the sea for a leased military base in return for recognition for Somaliland.

Somalia said the MoU “violates its sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The move also generated several diplomatic statements from various countries pledging their support for Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Although further developments on the MoU front seemed to have subsided from both sides amidst news of diplomatic efforts to mediate, Ambassador Mesganu Arga, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, welcomed a senior ministerial delegation led by Puntland’s Minister of Finance, Mohammed Farah Mohammed, at his office on Wednesday. During their discussions, both delegations explored “collaborative opportunities in trade, investment, energy cooperation, and joint infrastructure projects to strengthen and expand the ties between the two regions.”

The meeting, which many see as provocative, came a few days after Puntland State said it was withdrawing its recognition of the federal government of Somalia as well as its recognition of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as legitimate. It followed Puntland’s criticism with Mogadishu’s decision to amend the federal constitution, which Puntland deemed illegitimate and non-inclusive. According to local media reports, Puntland stated it only recognizes the 2012 version of the constitution. AS

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