Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Africa Union dodges the bullet on Ethiopia-Somalia tensions

Tuesday 20, February 2024 {HMC} The African Union has made no significant progress on resolving the Somalia-Ethiopia dispute, a UN official said on Monday, reflecting the sensibilities the continental body has had to navigate around disputes between member states.


At a session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Somalia, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) to Somalia Catriona Laing expressed disappointment that the recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa skirted around the issue. It chose to focus instead on the theme of the year on education, science and innovation, even though issues of peace and security including tensions between member states were discussed in passing.

The point raised by Ms Laing is centred on new development involving a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on January 1 this year between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a breakaway region Somalia considers its territory.

Somalia vehemently opposed the MoU and labelled it as nil and void.

Speaking alongside Souef Mohamed El-Amine, the Representative of the African Union Commission chairperson, Ms Laing stressed that the tension created by the MoU conflicts with recent noteworthy gains by Somalia, including its admission to the East African Community and reaching the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It also secured the lifting of an arms embargo and most recently the endorsement of the African Union (AU) Executive Council for a seat on the Security Council in 2025-26.


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