Home News El-Sisi Warns Ethiopia: “Egypt will not allow any threat to Somalia”

El-Sisi Warns Ethiopia: “Egypt will not allow any threat to Somalia”

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has publicly supported Somalia in its dispute with Ethiopia over a controversial port deal involving Somaliland. During a press conference with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, el-Sisi emphasized Egypt’s commitment to Somalia’s security, warning against threats to its sovereignty. He said:

“Egypt will not allow anyone to threaten Somalia or affect its security. Do not try Egypt, or try to threaten its brothers especially if they ask it to intervene.”

The Somaliland Port Deal

Somaliland is strategically positioned near the Gulf of Aden. It declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but remains largely unrecognized internationally.

Ethiopia announced on January 1 its deal to lease a portion of Somaliland’s coast land for military and commercial use, including access to the port of Berbera. In exchange for the port access, it promised to recognize Somaliland’s independence.

The 50-years lease agreement, involving a 20 km stretch of coast land, is seen by Ethiopia as crucial for maritime exports. The landlocked country is currently reliant on neighboring Djibouti’s port.

President Mohamud of Somalia, on the other hand, condemned this deal and said it was a violation of international law and an infringement on Somalia’s sovereignty.

The Somaliland port deal has caused Somalia and Ethiopia to be at loggerheads. In a recent move, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council deployed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to mediate escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia.

Somalia’s president paid a visit to Egypt, wherein he sought support from key figures, including the President, the Arab League chief and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque.

El-Sisi, while advocating for cooperation and development, also delivered a stern message to Ethiopia. He emphasized that attempts to control the land would not be tolerated. Ethiopia, however, defended its deal with Somaliland, asserting that it was a mere commercial arrangement for sea access and not an attempt at overtaking the land.

This latest development in the Horn of Africa adds another layer of complexity to the already strained relationship betwee  Egypt and Ethiopia, following the protracted dispute over Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) over the Blue Nile, which Egypt sees as an existential threat to itself.

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