Somalia: Muse Bihi set to visit Ethiopia for talks with PM Abiy Ahmed
HARGEISA, Somalia - Even in the middle of controversy between Somalia and Ethiopia, Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi is set to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in what could yet again trigger tensions between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa.
For the last six weeks, the two sides have been at loggerheads following a controversial agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, which Somalia terms as 'illegal' and 'unlawful'. Both parties have been under pressure to embrace dialogue.
A source told Garowe Online that Bihi is planning to visit Jigjiga for talks with the Ethiopian PM on their controversial MOU, amidst the PM’s visit to Godey in the Somali region of Ethiopia to inaugurate a newly built airport.
The agreement’s implementation faces challenges after international pressure on Ethiopia and demands for Somaliland’s recognition. Over 30 years in search of recognition, Somaliland asserts its breakaway status from Somalia, which sees the Ethiopia deal as a threat to its sovereignty.
On Monday, PM Abiy Ahmed and Somali region leader Mustafe Omer inaugurated the newly constructed Ugaas Mirad Airport in Gode City, Somali region. It's the best airport in the country after Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport, says Abiy.
It is not clear what the two leaders would discuss but they have been under pressure to rescind their agreement, which the international community believes will destabilize the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is also battling with a host of internal challenges.
If implemented, the agreement will see Ethiopia getting 20 kilometers of Red Sea for 50 years, and it intends to do a military base and a port, to ease the movement of goods to foreign countries besides boosting stability. Ethiopia believes the Port of Djibouti may no longer be ideal due to instability in Yemen.
But President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accuses him of infringing Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, adding that the country is ready for war with Ethiopia. Over the weekend, Somalia asked the United Nations to make its stand on the matter, public.