The government of Somaliland is intensifying its efforts to gain international recognition as an independent state by appealing to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to reports from local media sources. Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Dr. Issa Kayd Mohamud revealed that lawyers representing the Somaliland government have compiled a case to be filed with the ICJ in the near future, as reported by the Somaliland Standard.

Somaliland, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, has been striving for sovereignty since it declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after a decade-long civil war. Despite its effective governance and maintenance of informal diplomatic relations with several states, including Ethiopia, Somaliland has yet to receive international recognition. The region is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), advocating for its self-determination on the global stage.

Recent developments have added complexity to Somaliland’s quest for recognition. In a deal brokered on January 1, Somaliland agreed to lease 20 kilometers of coastland around the port of Berbera to Ethiopia for a period of 50 years. This agreement aims to provide landlocked Ethiopia with access to the sea, reducing its reliance on Djibouti for maritime trade and allowing for the construction of a military base in the strategic Gulf of Aden region.

While Ethiopia views the maritime deal as crucial for its economic interests and regional security, Somalia has vehemently opposed it, asserting that Somaliland is part of its sovereign territory. Mogadishu has characterized the agreement as a land grab and a violation of its territorial integrity, sparking tensions between the neighboring nations.

As Somaliland pursues its bid for sovereignty through legal avenues such as the ICJ, the maritime deal with Ethiopia has become a focal point of contention in the broader geopolitical landscape of the Horn of Africa. The outcome of these developments will have significant implications for regional stability and the aspirations of the Somaliland people for self-determination.