Puntland and Ethiopia Strengthen Ties Amid Regional Tensions


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Just in the middle of a souring relationship between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, the government officials of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia have been sighted with senior bureaucrats from the regional administration of Puntland, the northern state of Somalia.

In an undated photo, officials from the Ethiopian federal government are sighted in a meeting with Somali regional officials from Puntland, according to the region’s media. The meeting was held in an undisclosed location.

This time Ethiopia’s aviation officials including state minister Dhenge Boru met with Puntland aviation minister Abdullahi Bile, discussing “strengthening relations between Puntland and Ethiopia,” and increasing Ethiopian Airlines flights, per Puntland media.

The meeting took place in Addis Ababa but the date of the meeting has not been specified. Ethiopia is at loggerheads with Somalia after it disclosed intentions to seize 20 kilometers of the Red Sea after signing an illegal deal with Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia.

Interestingly, Somalia ordered the closure of Ethiopia's consulates in Garowe, the regional administrative capital of Puntland, and the one in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland state. In addition, Somalia ordered the withdrawal of Ethiopia’s ambassador Muktar Mohamed Ware while immediately recalling her ambassador to Ethiopia..

The statement insists Ware should leave within 72 hours, which elapsed today while consulates should be closer down within the next 72 hours. In response, Puntland dismissed the statement while insisting that it will continue to work closely with Ethiopia on matters of development.

Puntland accused the federal government of antagonizing 'good neignbors' while calling for order. Ethiopia is a major security stakeholder in Somalia having dispatched over 4,000 soldiers to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).


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