Somalia on Tuesday urged the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states to make the issue of Somalia’s territorial integrity a priority during the ongoing summit in Kampala.
Speaking to the media in the capital Kampala, the country’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hamza Adan Haadow, said Somalia is just recovering from a conflict, and it cannot afford another conflict with a neighbor.
“It is not proper for the NAM countries to look on as some of their neighbors choose to violate their territorial integrity. We are requesting the head of delegates of NAM to support us as a nation that is recovering from conflicts. We believe peace will return if the NAM members stand with us,” he said.
This comes against the backdrop of tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, following a “surprise pact” between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland, giving Ethiopia access to the Red Sea. Somalia rejected the deal as a violation of its sovereignty.
Ethiopia lost its access to the Red Sea ports in 1991, after the Eritrean War of Independence. Ethiopia and Somalia fought a war in 1977-78 over a disputed Ogaden region and tensions still run deep.
Uganda, a destination of international events through January, will also host an extraordinary Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit on Jan 18, aimed at containing tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia.