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Former President Obasanjo to mediate tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia

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Obasanjo Ethiopia Somalia

African Union’s Peace and Security Council has deployed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to mediate escalating tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia. The dispute arose after Somaliland signed an agreement with Ethiopia on January 1st, granting control over a maritime port and military base. This caused strained relations.

The Peace and Security Council called on both Ethiopia and Somalia to adhere to AU and international law principles in their relations. The African Union considers Somaliland a province of Somalia. Obasanjo’s appointment comes with a PSC warning against external interference.

Somalia refuses discussions with Ethiopia unless the latter reverses its January 1 agreement with Somaliland. Citing violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:

“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia have been violated by Ethiopia when it signed an illegal agreement with the northern region [the administration of Somaliland] of Somalia. That is why there is no room for mediation unless Ethiopia reverses its illegal agreement and reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.”

Somalia has declared readiness for war, recalling historical conflicts in 1977 and 2006.

Somaliland’s agreement aims for recognition as an independent state, asserting claims since its 1991 separation from the 1960 union with Somalia. Recently, Somalia rejected an Ethiopian flight to Somaliland, heightening tensions in this delicate situation.

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