Ethiopian PM: We have relations with Somalia and Somaliland

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, recently stated in an interview that his country has relations with both Somaliland and Somalia.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, PM Desalegn talked about current relations with Somaliland, and recent co-operation deals for Ethiopian use of Berbera port.

This statement by PM Desalegn, exhibits the reality that Somaliland’s government is sole legitimate representative of the country, and holds legitimate authority over Berbera port.

Since the Government of the Republic of Somaliland signed a $442 m deal with Dubai port operator DP World, Somalia’s government has embarked on a air war, denouncing the legitimacy of the deal.

Somalia’s government claims that their government has sole control over Berbera Port, although not having a presence in Somaliland since independence was restored in 1991.

Ethiopia’s government – aware of the political conflict between Somaliland and Somalia – has chosen to maintain friendly relations with both nations, and has entered their own agreements with Somaliland, much to Somalia’s dismay.

In 2016, Ethiopia signed a trade deal with Somaliland, that would allow them to conduct 30 percent of their trade through Berbera Port.

It is highly unlikely that Somalia’s government will denounce PM Desalegn’s comments, as Ethiopia plays a crucial role in Somalia’s redevelopment efforts, and is one the five countries contributing troops to AMISOM’s 22,000-strong mission to maintain peace in the country.

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