We will not close Ethiopia's consulate in Garowe, Puntland roars back

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In a tough-worded statement, Puntland maintained its desire to continue collaborating with Ethiopia on social-economic front.

GAROWE (GO) - Somalia's northern state of Puntland has dismissed a directive by the federal government demanding immediate closure of Ethiopia’s consulate in Garowe, blaming Mogadishu for triggering 'unnecessary' conflicts in the region.

In a tough-worded statement, Puntland maintained its desire to continue collaborating with Ethiopia on social-economic fronts, while condemning the federal government for 'manipulative' behaviour which is 'dangerous' for regional stability.

Mohamud Aydid Dirir, the region's minister for information, maintained that the Federal government of Somalia does not have jurisdiction to determine cooperation among like minded governments within the Horn of Africa.

"The Federal Government of Somalia has no jurisdiction in Puntland to close Ethiopia's Consulate in Garowe," he said in a statement while holding brief for President Said Abdullahi Deni, who is the the regional leader of the semi-autonomous region of Somalia.

Earlier, the government of Somalia through the ministry of foreign affairs confirmed giving Ethiopia’s Ambassador Muktar Mohamed Ware 72 hours to return to Addis Ababa while also asking Somalia's envoy to Ethiopia to 'immediately return home for further consultations'.

Also, the government gave Ethiopia seven days to close its consulates in Garowe, the regional administrative capital of Puntland and Hargeisa, the administrative capital of the breakaway region of Somaliland. Workers in the two consulates were asked to return to Ethiopia.

"These measures were taken in the interest of safeguarding the sovereignty, unity and independence and territorial integrity of the federal republic of Somalia," the country defended the decision.

"While the federal government of Somalia remains steadfast in its commitment to maintaining and fastening peaceful relationships with all neighbouring counties, it is essential that mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity forms the basis of these relations."

Somalia is embroiled in a bitter tussle with Ethiopia which had signed an agreement with Somaliland which would see it lose 20 kilometers of the Red Sea to Ethiopia. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wants to recognise Somaliland as a sovereign state in return.

Last week, Puntland leadership also cut ties with Somalia after differences in constitutional amendments. Puntland accuses President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of breaching the trust by approving constitutional changes without consultations.

GAROWE ONLINE

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