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Somali president cuts short Addis Ababa visit amid deteriorating relations with Ethiopia

Sheikh Mohamud says he and his delegation faced ‘forceful attempts’ by Ethiopian government security personnel to prevent their entry into African Union summit

Mohamed Dhaysane


Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Saturday cut short his official visit to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, citing “provocative” actions by the host country’s security officials during the African Union summit, which he later described as a “clear breach of diplomatic protocols.”

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Addis Ababa before his departure, Mohamud said he and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, as well as their delegations, faced “forceful attempts” by Ethiopian government security personnel to prevent their entry into the African Union summit, which kicked off on Saturday.

Mohamud criticized the incident as a “clear breach of diplomatic protocols and an abuse of presidential diplomatic immunity.”

The Somali president also “strongly” condemned Ethiopia for “blatantly infringing on Somalia’s sovereignty” and “aggressively seeking to annex” its territory.

The Somali Foreign Ministry later issued a statement, saying, “This behavior adds to the growing list of erratic actions by the Ethiopian government in recent times.”

Because Ethiopia hosts the African Union’s headquarters, its leadership and government are obligated to treat all African leaders fairly, the ministry stressed.

However, it said Addis Ababa failed to uphold the honor and responsibility with “the necessary decorum, it may be necessary for the African Union to reevaluate the location of its headquarters.”

Mogadishu also urged the African Union to “urgently” launch a credible and independent investigation into this outrageous conduct in accordance with the union’s protocols.

The Ethiopian government has yet to issue a statement regarding President Mohamud and his Djiboutian counterpart’s abrupt return to their respective countries.

The Somalia delegation declined Ethiopia’s security offer and tried to enter a venue with their weapons, Somali media claimed, citing Billene Seyoum, spokesperson for the Ethiopian prime minister.

Relations between the two neighboring countries have deteriorated since Ethiopia signed a Red Sea access agreement with Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland on Jan. 1.

Somalia has rejected Ethiopia’s Red Sea port agreement with Somaliland as “illegitimate,” a threat to good neighborliness, and a violation of its sovereignty. Following the announcement of the deal, it also recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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