Abiy Ahmed: Many Ethiopians have died for peace in Somalia, we are bound by blood
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed insists that the ties between Somalia and his country are unbreakable while pointing accusing fingers at unnamed 'enemies', who he insists are fueling controversy between the two friendly nations.
For the last two months, Somalia has been at loggerheads with Ethiopia, accusing Addis Ababa of signing an 'illegal' agreement with Somaliland which if implemented, will see Ethiopia getting 20 kilometers of Red Sea in exchange for recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state.
Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, Ahmed said Ethiopians have died for the peace of Somalia, in apparent reference to the thousands of troops that have been operating in Somalia. Ethiopia has close to 4,000 soldiers in Somalia serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
"The people of Somalia and Ethiopia are bound by blood. Many Ethiopians have died for peace in Somalia. No country has paid for peace in Somalia as much as Ethiopia. Therefore, the friendship between the two countries is profound," he said.
The PM has been under immense criticism with several international players accusing him of infringing Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, an accusation he vehemently denies. The PM insists the agreement mutually benefits the two friendly countries.
"Ethiopia as a friend, does not wish harm to come upon Somalia. Ethiopia does not acknowledge war against any country in principle. However, some forces are trying to incite conflict between the two nations, which should not happen," he said.
"Our request is for sea access based on mutual benefit. This is useful not only for Ethiopia but for cooperation," added the PM.
Meanwhile, the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the two peoples of Somalia and Ethiopia have no ill will toward each other. Mohamud said it is the Ethiopian government that has violated good neighborliness and norms.
“Talk to me while I hold a gun at your heart - that is not a wisdom…it has not happened, it won’t happen,” Mohamud said on Monday, telling Ethiopia to reverse course.
The conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia threatens stability in the Horn of Africa, a region that has struggled to embrace peace and tranquility. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has rejected calls for dialogue between him and Abiy Ahmed.