Türkiye steps in as mediator for Ethiopia, Somalia on port deal - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye steps in as mediator for Ethiopia, Somalia on port deal

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Türkiye has stepped in as mediator between Somalia and Ethiopia regarding a port deal Ethiopia signed with the self-declared Republic of Somaliland earlier this year, according to Reuters citing four officials familiar with the matter.

The negotiations are the latest attempt to mend diplomatic ties between the East African neighbors, whose relationship soured in January when Ethiopia agreed to lease 20 kilometers (12 miles) of coastline from Somaliland in exchange for recognition of its independence.

Mogadishu called the agreement illegal and retaliated by expelling the Ethiopian ambassador and threatening to kick out thousands of Ethiopian troops stationed in the country helping battle Islamist insurgents.

Spokespeople for the Somali government, Türkiye’s foreign ministry and Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, government and intelligence service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Somaliland, which has struggled to gain international recognition despite governing itself and enjoying comparative peace and stability since declaring independence in 1991, said it was not involved in the talks.

The goal of the negotiation was unclear, and expectations of a resolution were low, two officials said.

“Despite rumors that Somalia has softened its stance on refusing to engage in dialogue until Ethiopia withdraws the (agreement), it seems unlikely,” one of the officials said.

“I don’t see a way forward, and I don’t expect much to come from these talks.”

Ankara enjoys close economic, diplomatic and military friendships with Somalia and Ethiopia.

Türkiye has become a close ally of the Somali government since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan first visited Mogadishu in 2011, training its security forces and supplying development assistance.

The two nations signed a defense pact in February under which Ankara will provide maritime security support to Somalia to help the African country defend its territorial waters.

Türkiye has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and provided scholarships for Somalis to study in Türkiye, and in return, secured a foothold in Africa and on a key global shipping route.

In Ethiopia, Türkiye pledged full support to establishing peace and stability after clashes between federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) broke out in 2020. When the war ended, the Turkish Maarif Foundation immediately opened a school in Tigray. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) opened its first office in Ethiopia to deliver humanitarian aid and cultural projects in Africa.

After the port deal was announced, Türkiye, Egypt and other allies pledged their support for Somalia. Ankara reaffirmed its commitment to the country’s territorial integrity, emphasizing it as a “requirement of international law.”

Source: DailySabah

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