Somaliland minister resigns over deal with Ethiopia
HARGEISA, Somalia - A senior minister in Muse Bihi Abdi's administration has resigned over a controversial deal between Somaliland and Ethiopia, in what could change the dynamism in the Horn of Africa, which is struggling with instability, due to intra-national conflicts.
Ethiopia had signed a deal with Somaliland which if implemented, will give her 20 kilometers of Somalia's coastline, triggering outrage from Mogadishu and several international community members. The deal was signed on January 1st, 2024.
In return, the agreement indicates, Ethiopia will recognize Somaliland as a sovereign country, even though it is still part of Somalia. Several countries have condemned Ethiopia for signing the deal, noting that it undermines Somalia’s sovereignty.
And on Sunday, Abdiqani Mohamud Aateeye, one of the ministers in Muse Bihi Abdi's administration, resigned over the deal, noting that he doesn't believe Ethiopia will return the land after 50 years of lease. He was speaking to Horyaal Television.
“Ethiopia does not only want the sea and the port, it is taking our land,” Aateeye said. "Muse did not consult with his ministers, we heard that he signed an MoU with Ethiopia in the media like you did."
He added: "Our people will not accept their land to be taken easily. I'm telling Abiye that our sea is not that easy." He becomes the first senior official in Somaliland to oppose the deal, which has after all faced opposition from key stakeholders in Somalia.
The agreement has been strongly opposed by the Somali government and the wider Somali community. The government got the support of the international community and that it had the right to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ethiopia maintains that the agreement does not affect any country but Somalia has even gone ahead to sign a law that nullifies the deal. Muse Bihi Abdi and his government have been pushing for statehood since the region broke away from Somalia three decades ago.