Ethiopia forwards request to IGAD secretariat for a special session
The UN Security Council recommends that Ethiopia and Somalia resolve their differences through IGAD and the AU, disclosed Meles Alem (Amb.), spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He told the press Ethiopia has requested IGAD to call for another summit for dialogue on last month’s sea-access deal that has infuriated Mogadishu. IGAD had not issued an official response to the request before The Reporter went to print.
The UNSC convened a meeting under its ‘Peace and Security in Africa’ agenda item on January 29 at Somalia’s request. However, the Council did not disclose details of the proceedings to the media.
Meles, however, was open about Ethiopia’s position during the UNSC meeting.
“Ethiopia’s stance is that its efforts for sea access are driven by economic factors. It is also about regional integration as well as a peace and security issue. This is the clear agenda that Ethiopia reiterated during the UNSC meeting,” he said.
Following the UNSC’s redirection to regional platforms such as the AU and IGAD, the Ethiopian government placed a request for an IGAD session to discuss the issues, according to Meles.
Ethiopia did not attend an IGAD extraordinary session held in Uganda two weeks ago, despite the Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU being one of two main topics on the agenda. The heads of states and governments that did make it to Entebbe called for a de-escalation of tensions between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu and engagement in constructive dialogue.
“A request has been tabled to IGAD to discuss the issues and provide a local solution. The major point is that a regional solution is essential. This includes solutions from IGAD and the AU. Ethiopia is a founding member of these institutions, so Ethiopia supports the roles of these institutions,” said Meles.
The spokesperson took the opportunity to underscore the importance of the Somaliland deal to the Ethiopian government, saying its commitment to realizing sea access is second only to GERD.
Somalia called for the UNSC to convene on the Somaliland issue on January 23, invoking Article 35 of the UN Charter, which states that any member state “may bring any dispute, or any situation referred to in Article 34 [that is, one that may lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute] to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly”.
Somalia’s letter to the UNSC on January 23, 2024, states Ethiopia’s MoU with breakaway Somaliland “constitutes an unlawful transgression” of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, of which Somaliland “is a constituent part”.
Somalia first brought the issue to the UNSC in a separate letter dated January 4, 2024, just three days after PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and Somaliland President Muse Bihi inked the deal in Addis Ababa.
A UNSC statement issued ahead of the January 29 meeting reads that “no outcome was expected in connection with the meeting.”
By Sisay Sahlu