The Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations issued a statement yesterday saying that it is “disappointed” by the “unjustified accusations” made by Somalia during a UN Security Council briefing on 19 February, 2024.

In the statement, Ethiopia expressed strong objection to comments made by Somalia’s UN representative during the briefing, which it described as “outright false information” and a “continuation of yet another unjustifiable accusation.”

It declined to directly counter the claims out of “respect for the ties of fraternity between the peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia.”

However, the statement firmly defended Ethiopia’s recent port access agreement with Somaliland, stating it is “neither unprecedented nor contrary to international practices.” It positioned the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland as a “win-win partnership that will secure Ethiopia a sea outlet,” with no intention of harming any other country’s interests.

The statement also highlighted Ethiopia’s “enormous sacrifices and contributions to the peace and security of Somalia,” including thousands of lives lost helping fight Al-Shabaab.

Ethiopia underscored that it remains ready for dialogue with Somalia to maintain cooperative ties vital to regional security. As “eternal neighbors,” both countries should focus on partnership moving forward rather than damaging accusations, the statement stated.

On 19 February, 2024, Catriona Laing, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), told members of the Security Council that the lack of “significant progress” after the AU summit to defuse tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia was “disappointing.”