Somaliland is confident that the weekend announcement of an agreement between the federal government of Somalia and Ethiopia to jointly invest in four seaports, does not have an effect on Somaliland’s affairs.
Of particular concern will be a tripartite agreement signed in March, over the management of Somaliland’s Berbera port. Under that agreement, Ethiopia acquired a 19% stake in the port, joining Somaliland and DP World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under a 30-year concession.
Somaliland’s foreign minister, Dr. Saad Ali Shire said they are yet to receive any communications from Addis Ababa concerning any changes, if at all.
“We will see if Ethiopia changes our agreement, but this recent agreement between Somalia and Ethiopia does not change the previous agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia,” Shire told the Horn Diplomat news agency.
That agreement was declared ‘null and void’ by Somalia, arguing that it violated the sovereignty and constitution of Somalia.
Somalia at the time advised all seeking to acquire ports to deal with the federal government.
Somaliland’s president Muse Bihi Abdi described the rejection of the agreement as a ‘declaration of war’, insisting that Somaliland has the right to enter agreements.
Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991, but despite having its own currency, parliament, military and legal system, it is still under pressure to hold talks with Somalia.