Press Statement (for immediate release)
February 11, 2024
The Federal Republic of Somalia firmly rejects the so-called “memorandum of understanding” signed between the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia and the Somalia provincial administration of Somaliland on 1 January, 2024. This illegal MOU is a clear violation of Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity. Moreover, Ethiopia’s unprovoked action is a dangerous breach of international law and the norms of cooperation between sisterly countries.
According to our constitution and other national laws, no regional administration in Somalia, including Somaliland, has the autonomous jurisdiction to enter into an agreement with another country. Consequently, the so-called “MOU” between Ethiopia and the provincial administration of Somalia is null and avoid, and Somalia will take all necessary measures to deny the implementation of the illegal agreement.
Ethiopia’s action threatens the stability of the Horn of Africa – a region striving for peace and stability after decades of chronic conflicts. As the host of the headquarters of the African Union, whose founding principles safeguard the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of all member states, Ethiopia’s dangerous action also poses an existential threat to the foundation of the AU.
Somalia believes that this illegal MOU was designed to undermine our recent progress, which was recognized and applauded by the international community. The successful completion of the debt relief process, coupled with the lifting of the 30-year-long UN arms embargo and the ascension into the East African Community (EAC), a vibrant regional bloc, were some of the notable achievements that Somalia registered in 2023.
Additionally, Somalia was in the middle of a successful counterterrorism operation against the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. Over the past two years, the Federal Government of Somalia has liberated significant territory from Al-Shabaab. Regrettably, this MOU provides Al-Shabaab a golden opportunity to exploit the situation and potentially reverse the gains made in recent years.
In this regard, we call upon member states of the African Union, as well as the United Nations to take a principled position on the illegal MOU and denounce Ethiopia’s unwarranted aggression against Somalia’s sacrosanct sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We underline that Somalia has always taken a principled position on the protection of the sovereignty of all UN and AU member states.
Somalia remains committed to peaceful regional relations and expects adherence to international laws, affirming our right to respond to any actions that challenge our sovereignty. We trust in the international community’s support against such violations.