Egypt on Wednesday called for respecting Somalia’s unity and territorial integrity following a sea access deal between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland.
“Egypt underlines the need to fully respect Somalia’s unity and sovereignty over its entire territory and its right to benefit from its resources,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It warned that “escalating actions and statements from neighboring countries could undermine stability in the Horn of Africa.”
A memorandum of understanding was signed between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday, giving Ethiopia access to Red Sea ports.
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.”
On Tuesday, Somalia rejected Ethiopia’s Red Sea port deal with Somaliland, calling the agreement a threat to good neighborliness and a violation of its sovereignty.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Tuesday night called his Egyptian counterpart in the wake of the tensions between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa over the deal.
Somaliland is a former British protectorate in northwestern Somalia that declared independence in 1991 but has received no international recognition.
Ethiopia lost its Red Sea ports in the early 1990s after the Eritrean War of Independence, which lasted from 1961 to 1991.
In 1991, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia, leading to the establishment of two separate nations. The separation resulted in Ethiopia losing direct access to the Red Sea and key ports.
Ethiopia has since been landlocked, affecting its ability to conduct efficient maritime trade.
Ethiopia and Egypt have been engaged in a lukewarm relationship for years over Ethiopia’s Nile Dam project.
Last month, Egypt declared a dead end in Renaissance Dam negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan and vowed to defend its water and national security if they are violated.