Ethiopia explains its agreement with Somaliland and tries to calm things down

The agreement announced on Monday January 1 between Ethiopia and Somaliland has raised tensions in the Horn of Africa. A compromise signed between Addis Ababa and this republic, which seceded from Somalia in 1991 but has never been recognized by the international community. The text provides for the construction of an Ethiopian military base and a commercial hub on the Somaliland coast. In exchange, the Ethiopians would undertake to recognize Somaliland as an independent state. In response, Somalia recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa and denounced a violation of its sovereignty. On Wednesday January 3, the Ethiopians finally gave some further explanations.
Faced with the uproar caused by this agreement, Ethiopia is trying to calm things down. Addis Ababa has assured us that the compromise does not transgress “any law”.
On several occasions, the Ethiopians referred to peaceful coexistence, mutual interests and cooperation, assuring us that they “do not want to go to war”.
As for the thorny question of independence, Somaliland claimed that Ethiopia would formally recognize it, in exchange for access to the sea. But Addis Ababa’s position seems far less clear-cut. According to the Ethiopians, the compromise would provide for “an in-depth analysis in order to take a position” on this issue. Official recognition could therefore come at a later stage, after studying the dossier.
In the meantime, reactions continue and the tension is not letting up. On Wednesday, for example, Igad expressed its “deep concern” and called on the parties to work together towards a “peaceful resolution”. This led to a new outburst of bloodshed from the Somalis.
Mogadishu considers Igad to be far too timid and has made no secret of its “deep dissatisfaction”, believing that the statement is in fact biased in favor of Addis Ababa. The Somalis even called on Igad’s Executive Secretary, who is Ethiopian, to “apologize immediately” and withdraw his statement.