The Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, told the President of Federal Somalia not to interfere with Somaliland affairs as that country’s stability and well-being is seen as vital to regional peace.
According to a post the PM’s office shared on Facebook, Prime Minister Abiy and President Farmajo’s discussions rested on four points among which was that Somalia to mend relations with Somaliland to support regional peace. In other words, undue meddling in Somaliland affairs could potentially overturn delicate regional security balances.
To PM Ahmed, regional superseded all other considerations. That was the message he wished to share with president Farmajo.
President Bihi and PM Abiy met on February 20 to boost bilateral relations, including security, which seemed to have scalded the young leaders at Mogadishu’s Villa Somalia.
“The discussions focused on four key issues including the strengthening of regional peace per the agreements signed previously; mechanisms to ensure Kenya-Somali relations are strengthened; continuation of joint port development; and ensuring that relations with the administration of Somaliland support regional peace,” the statement said.
President Farmajo reached Addis Ababa, Tuesday, and immediately went into closed consultations with the PM whose primary objective behind Farmajo’s invitation, it emerged, was to convince him to, also, immediately open dialogue with Kenya.
“Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is paying special attention to reconciling the differences that have emerged between Somalia and Kenya as the current Chair of IGAD”, another post of the PM office established.
“During the official visit of President Kenyatta and Abdullahi Mohamed to Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy also hosted long consultations with each of the leaders to facilitate the first face to face discussion in a long time. It is expected that the mediated meeting between the two countries will ease tensions that have been building,” the statement went on to say.
The statement added that the two leaders were en route to Nairobi to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta.
How that would work for Somalia without adequate preparations for a face-to-face dialogue on an issue that has been submitted to the ICJ for deliberation, however, remains to be seen. How Somalia opposition elements and the general public, already suspicious of a president and PM they often call ‘fickle’ and ‘self-centered’, could countenance President stepping onto an ill-prepared, monumentally far-reaching decision such as this is another question mark, according to observers, that may work for or burn the president – depending.
Relations between Somalia and Kenya had descended to an alarming low following the former’s unilateral bid to put disputed, offshore Indian Ocean areas with potential reserves of oil and gas on the auction block at a London conference on February 8, 2019.