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Ethiopia signs deal with Somaliland to secure access to sea

Landlocked Ethiopia signed an initial agreement on Monday with Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland that will give it access to the sea through the Red Sea port of Berbera, although a number of prominent Somalis have cried foul.

The memorandum of understanding was signed between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Abiy’s office hailed the pact as “historic,” saying it is “intended to serve as a framework for the multisectoral partnership between the two sides.”

“The Memorandum of Understanding shall pave the way to realize the aspiration of Ethiopia to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports,” the office said in the statement.

It said the agreement will also strengthen the security, economic and political partnership between the two sides.

“The Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms the principled position of the Ethiopian government to advance mutual interests through cooperation on the basis of reciprocity,” it added.

Abiy said the agreement ushers in a new chapter of cooperation and has a huge significance for regional integration in the Horn of Africa which also enables Ethiopia to enhance its role in maintaining regional peace and security.

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