Djibouti and Kenya are mediating Somalia’s conflict with Ethiopia - minister

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The governments of Djibouti and Kenya have volunteered to mediate the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia, which threatens regional integration and stability, with the crisis entering the third month after it was first reported.

Somalia has questioned Ethiopia's expansionist ambitions, having entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, which is fighting for statehood. The MoU has been condemned widely.

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, the foreign affairs minister of Djibouti, revealed that the governments of Djibouti and Kenya are working hard to restore order, with mediation being proposed for the settlement of the conflict. The conflict has triggered tensions across the Horn of Africa.

Presidents Ismail Omar Guelleh and William Ruto have previously called for order between the two countries, which previously had good relations. Ethiopia is a major security stakeholder in Somalia’s state-building process which is on course.

He said a previous meeting for Ethiopia and Somalia was held in Kenya, and another meeting is expected to be held in Djibouti. Ruto had called for calm, noting that there was a need for a collaborative approach to solving the crisis.

“The region had many troubles, we do not want another, new war in the region,” he added. He said Omar Guelleh has called both parties to ask for patience as preliminary talks between the two countries take place.

He reiterated Djibouti’s position - respect for the sovereignty and unity of Somalia. Initially, Somalia had asked the United Nations to openly state its position on Ethiopia's 'improper actions' while noting that the move violated international laws.

The MoU if implemented fully, would see Ethiopia getting 20 kilometers of Red Sea for the construction of a naval base and port. In return, Ethiopia would recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state, the first Republic to make such a move.

Somalia maintains Somaliland is part of her territory and it insists that any attempts to violate its sovereignty will be 'met by fierce force'. Tensions in the region have also activated Somalia’s collaboration with other nations including Turkey and Egypt who have vowed to help in resisting Ethiopia's approach.

GAROWE ONLINE

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