Ethiopia Objects To Egyptian Base Plans In Somaliland

Proposed Egyptian military base in Somaliland causes regional tension

ADDIS ABABA, – Ethiopia said Friday the relations Egypt wants to establish with territories in the East Africa region must not come at the cost of Ethiopian interests.

Addressing a weekly news briefing, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti said, “Egypt as a sovereign country reserves the right to establish relations with any country [in the region]. But this should not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s stability.”

Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia not recognized as an independent country.

Late in July, a delegation from Egypt met with Musa Bihi Abdi, Somaliland’s self-declared leader, and reportedly proposed setting up a military camp in the northwestern part of the territory.

The Ethiopian government said it was following developments very closely.
“That is a red line for us,” he said, adding that Ethiopia wants friendly relations with Somaliland, despite its non-state status.

Some analysts see Egypt’s move as retaliation against Somalia, a country that supports Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile as Ethiopia and Egypt continue to wrangle over Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

After the failure of US-sponsored talks this February between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the African Union brought the three countries together for continued negotiations in June.

Last week, Ethiopia submitted a proposal on the filling of the dam – a proposal met with misgivings by Egypt and Sudan, which asked for time to review it.

Source: News Agencies

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