News: Somaliland Minister says Ethiopia upgrades Consular in Hargeisa to full-fledged embassy

Ali Mohamed Hassan. Photo: Horn Diplomat

Addis Abeba – Somaliland’s Minister of Information, Culture, and National Guidance, Ali Mohamed Hassan, a.k.a Ali Marehaan, said Ethiopia has upgraded its consular office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, into a full-fledged embassy status.

The information was first communicated by Somaliland President, Musa Bihi Abdi, during his address last week on Saturday 18 May on the occasion of the celebrations of Somaliland’s 33rd anniversary of its self-declared independence from Somalia.

In a subsequent interview with BBC Somali on the same day, Minister Ali Hassan Mohamed “emphasized that the upgrading of the Ethiopian representative office in Somaliland to a fully-fledged one was officially [a piece] of bonafide information since it was revealed by none other than the President himself in his speech to the nation during the most important date of the government calendar,” according to a post on the Ministry’s X (formerly Twitter) account.

So far, there is no official statement confirming the upgrading from the Ethiopian government. However, in a new round of appointments of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors announced by Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde last week, Ethiopia’s envoy to Hargeisa, Delil Kedir Bushra, was included among the names of Ambassadors. Delil Kedir served as Ethiopia’s envoy to Somaliland since March last year.

The news of the consular upgrade surfaced despite a decision by Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to give Ethiopia’s Ambassador Muktar Mohamed Ware 72 hours to leave Mogadishu, and announced the Consulates General in Hargeisa and Garowe, the capital cities of Somaliand and Puntland,respectively, 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.

Both Hargeisa and Garowe rejected Somalia’s decision and said it bears no impact on their relations with Addis Abeba.

In addition to the information on the consular upgrade, Minister Ali Hassan Mohamed also commented on the 01 January Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland and said that the MoU “was right on course and would be implemented duly and in due [course] as per procedural international treaties.”

Last week, citing a source close to the Somaliland government, DW reported that a technical team appointed by President Muse Bihi Abdi submitted its recommendations for an agreement with Ethiopia.

The team, which includes “specialized international law firms and Somaliland lawyers has started working on the Somaliland position paper” for the final agreement, DW quoted its source as saying. So far, there is no comment from the Ethiopian government. AS

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