Nairobi Leading ‘Highly Confidential’ Mediation Talks on Ethiopia-Somalia Dispute for Access to Red Sea

Kenyan President William Ruto and his Djibouti counterpart Ismail Omar Guelleh are facilitating “highly confidential” talks in Nairobi in an attempt to find a way out of the ongoing diplomatic impasse between Ethiopia and Somalia, linked to Ethiopia’s claims for access to the sea and its rapprochement with the separatist state of Somaliland, not recognized by Mogadishu.

This was revealed by sources from the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) cited by the regional press.

Rumors of ongoing mediations had circulated last week, when news of a Kenyan agreement proposal to be submitted to the two contending countries, later denied by Mogadishu, was leaked.

According to what circulated in regional media, Nairobi’s proposal envisaged negotiating a regional maritime resources treaty to regulate how states in the region can access ports on commercial terms.

According to reports Kenya has brokered a deal between the two countries. It was confirmed to the press by the PS of the Kenyan Foreign Department, Korir Sing’oei, on the sidelines of the meeting held in Nairobi between the Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the Speaker of the House, and President William Ruto.

“We continue to engage with all parties to ensure that, ultimately, the region remains stable,” the senior official said.

According to available information, the Kenyan government’s proposal for a facilitated maritime agreement is being evaluated within the IGAD framework. In Kenyan intentions, the agreement would allow, while respecting Somali sovereignty, landlocked states to access regional commercial ports by sharing marine resources among Igad members.

The dispute between Somalia and Ethiopia exploded following the signing of the controversial agreement stipulated last January 20th by the Ethiopian government and the authorities of Somaliland to allow Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea, an agreement which was rejected by Mogadishu which considers it null.

Under the deal, Ethiopia would be granted 50 kilometers of land along Somaliland’s Gulf of Aden coast for a period of at least XNUMX years and the construction of a military base, in exchange for giving Hargheisa a share of the company of Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopia’s recognition of the independence of Somaliland.

The document triggered a bitter diplomatic crisis, which culminated in recent weeks with the recall of the Somali ambassador in Addis Ababa and the order to close the Ethiopian representations in Garoe (Puntland) and Hargheisa (Somaliland).

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