Africa

Somalia Expels Ethiopian Ambassador, Orders Closure of Consulates Amid Tensions – Reports

A member of a military marching band attends a ceremony to remember those soldiers who died on the first day of the Tigray conflict, outside the city administration office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Somalia has ordered the expulsion of Ethiopian Ambassador Muktar Mohamed Ware and the closure of two Ethiopian consulates and is recalling its ambassador back to Mogadishu for comprehensive consultations, Somali National News Agency (SONNA) has reported. The development occurred against the background of escalation of diplomatic tensions between the two countries.SONNA reported on Thursday that Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had ordered the Ethiopian ambassador to Somalia to depart the country within 72 hours, adding that such action follows a resolution by Somalia’s Council of Ministers and is a direct response to Ethiopia’s recent actions. Somalia has also ordered the closure of Ethiopian consulates located in the city of Hargeisa in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland and the city of Garowe in the country’s autonomous state of Puntland within seven days, SONNA reported.In addition, Somalia has summoned its ambassador to Addis Ababa back to Somalia for comprehensive consultations, the report said. AfricaAfrican Nations ‘Up in Arms’ Over Ethiopia-Somaliland Pact3 January, 09:46 GMTThe report cited a Somali official as saying that these measures are crucial to safeguarding Somalia’s independence, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and send a clear signal against foreign interference in the country’s affairs.Somali news portal Garowe Online reported Thursday that both Somaliland and Puntland have refused to comply with Mogadishu’s order to close Ethiopian consulates.The report cited Somaliland’s deputy foreign minister Rhoda Elmisaid and the Puntland government’s information minister Mohamud Aydid Dirir as saying in separate statements that Mogadishu’s order would be ignored.

In early January, Addis Ababa inked a memorandum of understanding with Somaliland that granted the landlocked Horn of Africa nation access to the Red Sea. The next day, Somalia recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia. On January 6, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a law nullifying the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia. Broadcaster CGTN Africa reported an emergency summit of North East African countries convened in Uganda under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development called on Ethiopia and Somalia to reduce tensions and return to constructive dialogue.

Somalia collapsed as a unified nation in 1991 with the downfall of Siad Barre’s dictatorship. The international community has recognized the Mogadishu-based federal government as the only legitimate authority in Somalia, while chunks of the country in the north and east remain under the control of self-proclaimed and unrecognized Somaliland and Puntland.AfricaBreakaway Somaliland Discovers Oil – Ministry9 January 2023, 11:03 GMT

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