Somalia is discussing a deal that would allow landlocked Ethiopia to use the Red Sea port of Berbera, the state news agency reported.
The Somali Cabinet has called for an emergency meeting to discuss the ports agreement between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland.
The Somali Cabinet is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the plan after signing an agreement allowing Ethiopia to use the port of Berbera on the Red Sea the previous day. Tensions are rising in the Horn of Africa region, as Ethiopia has raised its attempt to reach a seaport.
Since Eritrea gained its independence in 1991, Ethiopia has become a landlocked country. This has left Africa's second most populous country dependent on neighboring Djibouti for most of its maritime trade.
But the agreement, signed in Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi, will pave the way for Ethiopia to begin commercial naval operations with access to a rented military base on the Red Sea, Abiy’s national security adviser said. Radwan Hussein said.
Radwan said that in return, Somaliland would receive a share of the state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, without giving further details.
The Somali National News Agency (SUNA) reported that the Somali Cabinet will decide on a response at a meeting on Tuesday.
Somaliland has not received widespread international recognition, despite declaring autonomy from Somalia in 1991. Somalia insists that Somaliland remains part of its territory.
The news agency said last week that Somalia and Somaliland agreed to resume talks to resolve their differences, after mediation efforts led by Djibouti.
As part of the port deal, Ethiopia will be the first country to recognize Somaliland as an independent state in due course, Abdi said.
The agreement comes months after Abiy said the country should assert its right to access the Red Sea, raising regional concerns.
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