Addis Abeba – Ambassador Redwan Hussain, Security Adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, briefed military attachés and representatives of international partners based in Addis Abeba that Ethiopia’s efforts to secure access to sea is not a matter of “luxury but of survival”, state daily reported on Thursday.

For the past three decades, Ethiopia has been conducting its import/export business through the port of Djibouti, he said, and added that it has now become important to find additional alternatives befitting of the current national and international dynamics.

“We are of course okay with one access in Djibouti for the last 30 years because the economy was so small. But now we are witnessing challenges as Ethiopia’s economy is growing from all corners of this country. One outlet is (therefore) not enough to sustain the economy. We need to come up with alternatives.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that Ethiopia signed with Somaliland is therefore aimed at responding to Ethiopia’s growing economy and population size and not meant to harm anyone.

Ambassador Redwan pushed back against at what he said were the “dissemination of misleading information” with regard to the real intentions of the MoU, and explained in detail the aspects of the MoU to the foreign officials who attended the briefing.

“We are not taking away anybody’s land. We are just leasing land like everybody in Somaliland, not only us. But there are also countries that have already bases; and there are others which are lining up to get access in Somaliland,” Ambassador Redwan was quoted as saying, adding that Ethiopia “cannot survive unless we have some access to this base. It is for our survival one, and for us to be able to contribute positively for the peace and security of the region. We cannot just ignore this.”

Ethiopia has sacrificed a lot to ensure the peace and security of Somalia, Redwan said, adding that Ethiopia will continue to cooperate with Somalia and other neighboring countries based on mutual benefits.

“Now if it was okay to die on land to save Somalia, why would it be a problem to get access to sea? …. There is something that cannot be very much understood. It is quite baffling that they are complaining because we are about to get access to the sea. There is something that we have to reconcile on that matter.”

Addis Standard