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Somaliland lawmakers shoot down Red Sea access deal with Ethiopia

MOGADISHU, SomaliaLawmakers in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland have rejected a maritime access deal with Ethiopia.

In a joint statement late on Tuesday, members of both houses of Somaliland’s parliament, mainly from the coastal Awdal and Salal provinces, said the Red Sea access deal was “illegal” and aims to “harm the unity of the people of Somaliland.”

“We have rejected the deal and its implementation and we are calling the government to stop and retract the memorandum of understanding,” said the statement.

The statement pointed to “conflicting statements” from leaders of Somaliland and Ethiopia on the deal, which allows Ethiopia to obtain a permanent naval base and commercial maritime service in the Gulf of Aden.

Somalia has rejected Ethiopia’s Red Sea port deal with Somaliland, calling it “illegitimate,” a threat to good neighborliness and a violation of its sovereignty. It also recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after the deal was announced.

Ties between the two neighbors has been worsening since Ethiopia struck the deal with Somaliland on Jan. 1.

The Ethiopian government has defended its decision to sign the deal without Mogadishu’s approval, saying the agreement with Somaliland “will affect no party or country.”

Ethiopia lost its Red Sea ports in the early 1990s after the Eritrean War of Independence, which lasted from 1961 to 1991.

In 1991, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia, leading to the establishment of two separate nations. The separation resulted in Ethiopia losing direct access to the Red Sea and key ports.

Source: AA

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