Somalia Expels Ethiopian ambassador

Ethiopian ambassador in Somalia. [File Photo]

Somalia sent the Ethiopian ambassador in Mogadishu back home on Thursday and closed two consulates in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and in the breakaway region Somaliland due to a dispute over a port deal, two Somali officials said.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spoksperson Nebiyu Tedla said it it did not have information on the matter. The prime minister’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

Landlocked Ethiopia agreed a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 1 to lease 20 km (12 miles) of coastline in Somaliland – a territory that Somalia says it owns, even though the northern region has enjoyed effective autonomy since 1991.

Ethiopia said it wants to set up a naval base there and offered possible recognition of Somaliland in exchange – prompting a defiant response from Somalia and fears the deal could further destabilise the Horn of Africa.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called the deal illegal and said in February his country would “defend itself” if Ethiopia goes ahead with it.

The move to expel the ambassador and shut down the consulates raises concerns over the fate of 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers stationed in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission fighting militants from al Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate, according to diplomats and analysts.

In February Mohamud said he did not plan on kicking them out.

Source: Reuters

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.