Mogadishu issued a stern warning to Addis Ababa regarding a recent agreement with Somaliland, raising concerns over Ethiopia gaining access to the Red Sea through Hargeisa.

The deal, finalised on Monday, is set to be formalised within a month, but Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud swiftly condemned the move, labeling it as “illegal” and accusing Ethiopia of encroaching on Somalia’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“As a Government, we have condemned and rejected the illegal infringement of Ethiopia into our national sovereignty and territorial integrity yesterday. Not an inch of Somalia can or will be signed away by anybody. Somalia belongs to the Somali people. This is final,” said Mr Mohamud on X.

The Somali government adamantly contends that the agreement inked in Addis Ababa is null and void, heightening tensions in the Horn of Africa.

The accord, aimed at granting Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea’s seaport, serves as a pivotal diplomatic move. It resolves a longstanding issue for Ethiopia while mitigating potential conflicts with neighboring nations like Eritrea and Djibouti.

Additionally, the agreement allows Ethiopia to construct essential infrastructure and establish a corridor within the leased area, underlining its commitment to bolstering regional geopolitical and economic influence.

Somaliland, the region at the heart of the dispute, remains a contentious breakaway territory beyond Mogadishu’s control. Recognition of Somaliland as an autonomous state is a subject of ongoing debate and disagreement.

Presently, Ethiopia heavily relies on a primary trade route, consisting of roads and a railway connecting the capital, Addis Ababa, to a port in Djibouti.

Djibouti, along with Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Kenya, is one of the five neighboring countries with coastlines.

As diplomatic intricacies unfolded earlier, Ali Omar, Somalia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasised the sacrosanct nature of his nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.