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Turkey Mediates Fragile Somalia-Ethiopia Port Deal Talks

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Ayize claire

Jul 1, 2024

Diplomatic Efforts Aim to Resolve Tensions Over Controversial Somaliland Agreement

Turkish President Erdogan and Somali President Mohamud at an official ceremony, underscoring Turkey's mediation in the Somalia-Ethiopia port deal talks.

Turkey is mediating talks between Somalia and Ethiopia over a controversial port deal Ethiopia signed with Somaliland earlier this year, according to officials. The negotiations aim to mend the strained diplomatic ties between Somalia and Ethiopia, which deteriorated after Ethiopia agreed to lease 20 km of coastline from Somaliland in exchange for recognizing its independence.

Mogadishu deemed the agreement illegal, expelled the Ethiopian ambassador, and threatened to expel thousands of Ethiopian troops stationed in Somalia fighting Islamist insurgents.

Somali, Turkish, and Ethiopian government representatives did not respond to requests for comment. Somaliland, which declared independence in 1991 but lacks international recognition, said it was not part of the talks. Officials indicated that expectations for a resolution were low, with one noting Somalia's continued refusal to engage until Ethiopia withdraws the agreement.

Turkey has been a close ally of Somalia since President Erdogan's visit in 2011, providing security training, development assistance, and signing a defence pact in February to support Somalia's maritime security. Turkey's extensive aid includes building schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and offering scholarships to Somalis, securing a strategic foothold in Africa and along key global shipping routes.

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