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Kenya plays peacekeeper between Somalia and Ethiopia

Kenya has proposed an idea that would diffuse the tension between Somalia and Ethiopia. Kenya suggested that both countries come to a regional maritime treaty concerning Ethiopia’s deal with a region Somalia considers a breakaway state; Somaliland. Leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia are said to be considering the proposal.

Kenya plays peacekeeper between Somalia and Ethiopia
  • Kenya proposes regional maritime treaty to ease Ethiopia-Somalia tension.
  • The treaty aims to grant landlocked Ethiopia sea access via Somaliland, respecting Somalia's sovereignty.
  • Proposal gains traction as Somalia and Ethiopia consider convening for talks.
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Back in January, the landlocked East African giant, Ethiopia revealed that it had begun the process of gaining direct access to the sea. The Ethiopian government stated that it recently signed a deal with the Republic of Somaliland to use one of its ports.

However, this deal did not sit well with Somalia which considers Somaliland a breakaway state. Somalia labeled the deal illegal and promised to use every legal means to nullify the deal.

Since then, there has been tension between Ethiopia and Somalia, as demonstrated by Somalia’s expulsion of the Ethiopian ambassador to Mogadishu; Muktar Mohamed Ware.

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Kenya’s proposed treaty in consultation with Djibouti and regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), would lay out how landlocked countries in East Africa would be granted access to the sea.

This idea was proposed during an interview the international media company Reuters conducted with Korir Sing'oei, Kenya's principal secretary for Foreign Affairs.

"Igad can be able to formulate a treaty for sharing maritime resources," Korir Sing'oei stated. "We continue to engage with all the parties with a view to ensuring that at the end of the day the region is left all stable," he added.

Recently, the Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with the president of Kenya, William Ruto in Nairobi to find a solution to the brewing dispute.

Kenya’s proposal if accepted would ensure that Ethiopia and Somalia meet in the middle. Sing'oei noted that the deal would offer Ethiopia "stable and predictable access to maritime resources" while also maintaining Somalia's territorial integrity.

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The secretary for Foreign Affairs said “time was of the essence since Al Shabaab militants in Somalia were using the dispute to portray the government in Mogadishu as being unable to protect Somalia's sovereignty,” the Reuters report reads.

The leaders of Somalia and Ethiopia are considering Kenya’s idea, according to Sing'oei. They have also been advised to take a meeting to this effect.

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