CrisisWatch Eritrea

Unchanged Situation

President Isaias met with Somali counterpart amid heightened tensions over Ethiopia-Somaliland memorandum of understanding.

Ethiopia and Somaliland 1 Jan signed memorandum of understanding that would allow Ethiopia to develop naval base along coast of Somaliland; Hargeisa said deal includes recognition of Somaliland’s independence, though Addis Ababa’s commitment to this step appears tentative (see Ethiopia, Somaliland). Announcement ratcheted up regional tensions. Mogadishu, which views Somaliland as part of Somalia’s territory, 2 Jan called agreement an “act of aggression” and began rallying regional allies in order to exert pressure on Addis Ababa to halt deal (see Somalia). Notably, Somali President Mohamud 8 Jan met with President Isaias in capital Asmara. Mohamud next day claimed Isaias supported “the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Somalia”; Asmara issued no official statement but is widely expected to side with Mogadishu on issue amid deteriorating relations with Ethiopia. 

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