Addis Abeba – Ethiopia said it “categorically rejects” the statement issued by the Arab League following an extraordinary meeting on 17 January 2024 concerning the MoU recently signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

State minister of the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry, ambassador Mesganu Arega posten on X that the Arab League’s statement is “an attempt to interfere with the internal affairs & sovereignty of Ethiopia”. The state minister dismissed the League’s statement stating that “Ethiopia enjoys excellent bilateral relations with many of the Arab states but the League is serving the interests of few.”

Furthermore, Ambassador Meles Alem (PhD), spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Addis Standard that the Arab League’s statement is “unacceptable” and that Ethiopia “categorically rejects” it. “Africans have the capability to solve their own problems,” Ambassador Meles stated.

“By the same token the statement by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sami Shoukri, portraying Ethiopia as a distablizer is irresponsible. It is hell bent on escalating the situation,” the spokesperson conveyed, adding that “the Arab League and Egypt are two sides of the same coin.”

The Arab League Ministerial Council which convened via video conference on Wednesday on the request of Somalia concluded the meeting by issuing a resolution supporting Somalia and rejecting any action that undermines or violates its sovereignty.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Arab League chief, described the Ethiopia-Somalia MoU as “a blatant attack against Arab, African and international principles, and a clear violation of international law”. The league accused Ethiopia of destabilizing security and stability in the region, and threatening regional peace and security.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during the meeting called on respecting Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reportedly warned against “Ethiopia’s unilateral policies that violate international law and principles of good neighborliness.” He asserted Arab readiness to provide Somalia with the necessary support at the official and popular levels.

Following the meeting, Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State of the UAE affirmed in a statement that his country’s support for Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, and reiterated the country’s support for the Federal Republic of Somalia’s government.

The minister called for de-escalation, dialogue and diplomacy and emphasized the importance of exploring ways to coordinate with IGAD and the African Union to ensure stability in the Horn of Africa.

The signing of the MoU on 01 January 2024, granting Ethiopia access to the sea in return for international recognition for Somaliland, escalated tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia, with Somalia deterring an Ethiopian airplane from landing in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland on Wednesday.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) under the chairmanship of Djibouti’s president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, is set to discuss the matter today in Kampala, albeit, Ethiopia declining attendance citing overlapping schedule.