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Update: ‘Historic’ MoU with Somaliland sees Ethiopia secure access to sea, diversify seaport

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi. Photo: PMO

Addis Abeba – Ethiopia signs historic MoU with Somaliland to “secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.”

A a memorandum of understanding was signed between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi signed who is on a state visit to Ethiopia since Sunday.

According to the official readout, the MoU will “pave the way to realize the aspiration of Ethiopia to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports.”

Redwan Hussien, National Security Advisor to PM Abiy, said the MoU will also “paves the way for accessing a leased Military base on Red sea.”

“What else can be said but to thank The Creator,” PM Abiy reacted to the signing a one line message on his social media networks.

“The Memorandum of Understanding for Partnership and Cooperation, between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Somaliland, is intended to serve as a framework for the multisectoral partnership between the two sides,” the readout says.

It will also “strengthens their security, economic and political partnership. Furthermore, the Memorandum of Understanding also indicates the pathway to bolster their political and diplomatic relations.”

Ethiopia also credited the MoU as a sign of reaffirmation of “the principled position of the Ethiopian Government to advance mutual interests through cooperation on the basis of reciprocity. The Memorandum of Understanding ushers in a new chapter of cooperation and has a huge significance for regional integration in the horn. It also enables Ethiopia to enhance its role in maintaining regional peace and security.”

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In August last year, an Ethiopian delegation led by the transport and logistics minister Alemu Sime traveled to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, to look at more port options for Ethiopia.

The delegation has met and discussed with the Somaliland government officials about making Berbera Port an additional option for Ethiopian import export trade activities.

In November, Alemu Sime said that Ethiopia was negotiating with Somaliland government to secure direct access to seaport.

A deal that was signed in March 2018 was expected to enable Ethiopia own a 19% shareholder of the Port of Berbera following the signing of an agreement with DP World and the Somaliland Port Authority in Dubai. The agreement saw DP World own a 51% stake in the project, but the deal to enable Ethiopia’s share has since failed to materialize.

The official readout issued today did not specify the terms of the MoU in which Ethiopia will secure access to the Sea through Somaliland. AS

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