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HomeEditorialEthiopia and Puntland Foster Independent Ties Amidst Somalia-Ethiopia Tensions.

Ethiopia and Puntland Foster Independent Ties Amidst Somalia-Ethiopia Tensions.

In the midst of escalating tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia, Ethiopia and Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia, have initiated independent engagement efforts. High-level delegations, led by Puntland’s Minister of Finance and Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently convened in Addis Ababa, where agreements were reached to strengthen their multifaceted relationship.

This development occurs against the backdrop of strained relations between Ethiopia and Somalia, particularly exacerbated by Somalia’s objection to Ethiopia’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland. The MoU aims to secure sovereign access to Somalia’s Red Sea coastline, a move fiercely contested by Somalia.

Additionally, Puntland recently withdrew its recognition of Somalia’s Federal Government led by President Hassan Sheikh, citing unilateral amendments to the constitution as the reason behind the decision.

The discussions between Ethiopia and Puntland primarily centered around enhancing trade, investment, energy cooperation, and joint infrastructure projects, as confirmed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ethiopia has been extending support and collaboration to Puntland, particularly in security and education sectors while Ethiopia has a consulate in the Puntland capital of Garowe. Plans are underway to construct a tarmac road linking the Garacad port to a dry port being planned at Galdogob, Tuurdibi, at the Ethiopia-Somalia border, a distance of merely 300 kilometers and Ethiopia is Planning constructing a road connecting to Galdogob, for facilitating trade in Garacad Corridor.

Ethiopian Airlines has initiated direct flights to Garowe and Bosaso, Puntland’s two main cities, following a historical deal signed by President Deni with a company in Addis Ababa in July 2019, which is one of the biggest projects between Ethiopia and Puntland.

Criticism has been directed at Ethiopia’s pursuit of sovereign access to the Red Sea diplomatically, with Somalia’s allies emphasizing the importance of respecting the sovereignty and unity for Somalia.

Puntland’s historical ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) suggest potential UAE involvement in facilitating the newfound relationship between Puntland and Ethiopia. President Deni’s transit through Ethiopia en-route to the UAE underscores the significance of regional dynamics amidst evolving alliances and geopolitical shifts.

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