Proposed Egyptian military base in self-declared breakaway territory Somaliland causes regional tension, Algerian army stresses importance of reaching political solution in Libya via dialogue

Ethiopia objects to Egyptian base plans in Somaliland

The Algerian army on Thursday warned that if Libyan tribes are armed during the country’s current crisis, this could turn Libya into a “new Somalia.”

“The new situation today on the ground [in Libya] is more dangerous than anyone could imagine, and the repercussions of a proxy war planned by some parties to be implemented in Libya would have disastrous consequences on countries of the region,” Algeria’s Army Magazine said in its August issue.

The magazine reiterated a warning by Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune that Libya could become a “new Somalia,” referring to the 1991 civil war in the Horn of Africa country.

The magazine stressed the importance of reaching a political solution via dialogue between Libya’s warring parties.

In mid-July, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a group of Libyan tribesmen who reportedly said they mandated the Egyptian military to intervene in Libya to “protect Libya’s sovereignty

Sisi told the tribesmen that Egypt would “not stand aside” in the face of increasing military mobilization near the city of Sirte in northern Libya.

Al-Sisi’s call to arm the Libyan tribes in favor of warlord Khalifa Haftar against Libya’s UN-recognized government drew widespread criticism inside Libya.

Since April 2019, Haftar’s illegitimate forces have launched attacks on the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

But the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar’s forces out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

Ethiopia objects to Egyptian base plans in Somaliland

Ethiopia said Friday the relations Egypt wants to establish with territories in the East Africa region must not come at the cost of Ethiopian interests.
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Addressing a weekly news briefing, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti said, “Egypt as a sovereign country reserves the right to establish relations with any country [in the region]. But this should not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s stability.”

Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia not recognised as an independent country.

Late in July, a delegation from Egypt met with Musa Bihi Abdi, Somaliland’s self-declared leader, and reportedly proposed setting up a military camp in the northwestern part of the territory.

The Ethiopian government said it was following developments very closely.

“That is a red line for us,” he said, adding that Ethiopia wants friendly relations with Somaliland, despite its non-state status.
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Some analysts see Egypt’s move as retaliation against Somalia, a country that supports Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile as Ethiopia and Egypt continue to wrangle over Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

After the failure of US-sponsored talks this February between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the African Union brought the three countries together for continued negotiations in June.

Last week, Ethiopia submitted a proposal on the filling of the dam – a proposal met with misgivings by Egypt and Sudan, which asked for time to review it.