The Somaliland Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said the Somaliland government is “on course without any wavering, and remain seized” of the implementation of the MoU signed with Ethiopia, adding that a technical team, team of international legal experts, and a high-level advisory group to advise and guide the process has been appointed.

According to a statement released by the ministry on 20 February, following various engagements in Addis Abeba, aligned the 37th African Union summit, a delegation led by Somaliland Foreign and International Cooperation Minister Essa Kayd Mohamud (Ph.D. has been able to ascertain that the MoU “is not only lawful, legal and legitimate under international law and statues, but how transformative it is for Somaliland and Ethiopia, and also for the region both in terms of the economy, trade, and security spheres.”

The signing of the MoU on January 1, 2024, granting Ethiopia access to the sea in return for international recognition for Somaliland, has escalated tensions in neighboring Somalia, which argued that the MoU “violates its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Somaliland-Ethiopia Deal Pathway To International Recognition
The Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed (left) and President of the Republic of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi exchanging a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after signing where Ethiopia officially recognizes the Republic of Somaliland while Somaliland grants naval and commercial sea access on lease to Ethiopia for 50 years.

The move also generated several diplomatic statements from various countries, pledging their support for Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Likening the MoU signed with Ethiopia to the multi-million dollar investment project reached with the UAE’s Dubai Ports World (DP-World) for the expansion and modernization of the Berbera Port, the ministry enunciated Somaliland’s capacity to enter into bilateral cooperation agreements.

Furthermore, Somaliland said that its delegation received “positive and encouraging” feedback on the issue of the recognition of Somaliland. “We have met many delegations at the various levels to reiterate our case and desire for international recognition. The number of positive responses and support for our cause is phenomenal.”

The ministry condemned what it described as “unpalatable, rogue and savage behavior” of the president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud during the AU summit. The Ethiopian government has dismissed accusations made by the government of Somalia regarding the purported obstruction of its president during the AU Summit, deeming them an attempt “to garner attention from specific media platforms.”

Somaliland Says Preparation For Implementation Of MoU With Ethiopia ‘On Track’
Somaliland Foreign and International Cooperation Minister Essa Kayd Mohamud (PhD) (Photo: MFASomaliland/X)

Highlighting the recent allegations on the killing of Abdinassir Muse Dahable, a young aviation engineer in Mogadishu, Somaliland cautioned against “irresponsible hate narrative against Ethiopia and Somaliland” by leaders of Somalia, while sending out an emergency alert and a call to Somaliland citizens to evacuate Somalia.

Somaliland has blamed the death “to the ongoing airspace dispute that has resulted in the weaponization of Somaliland airspace by our neighboring country Somalia.”