Emergency Arab Meeting to Discuss
Arab foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday via video conference to discuss the repercussions of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) Ethiopia concluded with the separatist region of Somaliland.
Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador Hossam Zaki announced on Sunday the emergency virtual meeting at the level of foreign ministers next Wednesday to address the consequences of an unlawfully signed agreement between Ethiopia and the Somaliland region.
Under the meeting, landlocked Addis Ababa obtained operational privileges in northwest Somalia’s Red Sea area.
Ethiopia seeks to secure a seaport that it has been deprived of for 30 years after Eritrea’s independence in 1993.
Somaliland is a former British colony that declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but was not recognized by the international community.
The MoU concluded on Jan. 1, grants Ethiopia access to 20 kilometers of Somaliland’s coast for 50 years through a “lease” agreement.
Addis Ababa indicated that the agreement allows it to establish a permanent naval base and commercial maritime services on the Gulf of Aden, but Somalia rejected it.
The US, the EU, the African Union, the Arab League, Egypt, and Türkiye urged parties to respect Somali sovereignty.
The Arab meeting will be held at the request of Somalia and with the support of 12 Arab countries, according to Zaki.
He indicated that there had been attempts to hold the meeting during the last period, but it was impossible, so they resorted to video conferencing as it is the most practical method.
Morocco, the current president of the regular session of the Arab League, will head the meeting.
Somalia submitted an explanatory memorandum as the one who called for the meeting, said Zaki, explaining that over 12 Arab countries supported the meeting and there was consensus on the Somali position.
He added that the Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, would undoubtedly meet Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud if he was present during the Somali president’s visit to Cairo soon.
Somali Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative at the Arab League, Ambassador Elias Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, announced on Jan. 4 that his country had submitted a request to the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting at the level of Arab foreign ministers.
Abu Bakr stressed the need to take a unified Arab position to respond to Ethiopia’s blatant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.
He considered Ethiopia’s “unilateral measures” constitute a threat to Arab national security and navigation in the Red Sea and an attempt aimed at undermining the sovereignty and independence of the Somali Republic.
The ambassador called on Arab countries to defend Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under international resolutions and laws.
He stressed the importance of adhering to the rules of good neighborliness to promote peace, security, and stability in the Horn of Africa region, warning of the dangerous repercussions of Ethiopia’s move.