Somalilandsun: A week ago the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military attack on the regional state of Tigray.
So far this pointless and avoidable civil war has resulted in casualties on both sides as well as displacement of Tigrians said to be flocking into Sudan in their thousands
Though the UN , AU and other international players have urged both sides to cease their armed engagement thus settle matters peacefully , the conflict continues and is very likely to morph into a geopolitical nightmare.’
In Somaliland all citizen are following activities in the neighbouring country that is held dearly by all due to many shared interest and relations that span ages, more so during the brutal civil war that saw former Somalia dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre drive hundreds of thousands into Ethiopia hosted refugee camps.
Upon the defeat of Gen Barre’s Somalia army by the ragtag SNM rebels and the proclamation of Self-rule by Somaliland in 1991 the Ethiopian Federal Government under then Prime Minister late Meles Zenawi was the only one in the world to acknowledge this sovereignty that saw Adis Ababa established a diplomatic mission in Hargeisa that remains to date.
This relations have not only weathered the storm of time but continued to grow from strength to strength with signing of numerous memorundums and pact relating to full security, trade, Diplomatic, cross-border movement and education among many others.
These MOUs have seen to a large cross border movement of citizens that settle comfortably due to the welcome by host country as can be exemplified by the Somaliland capital Hargeisa Ethiopians are integrated into society.
Notable also is the 19 percent share of Berbera port owned by the Ethiopians as part of the $420m Dubai world contract that ensures that the main Somaliland sea port is gradually overtaking Djibouti as major conduit of the landlocked giant neighbour.
While the port share deal is of note most poignant is that for over a decade Ethiopia has not only accepted the SOMALILAND passport as a valid travel documents in which its Hargeisa resident mission stamps visas on but Addis Ababa is the only legal Gateway to the world for Somalilanders.
Late Ethiopian Prime minister Meles Zenawi was the first and for a long time foreign leader to publicly speak about a Somalilander president, recognizing implicitly the existence of an independent State.
Upon the demise of the Great African and beloved of Somaliland his position was taken by Hailemariam Desalegn whose first address to the parliament included issues related to Somaliland.
“Somaliland is a friend and a key strategic ally for Ethiopia. We will spare no expense to defend and protect Somaliland. We are ready to extend an arm of support to our Somaliland brothers every time they are in need of one,” the former Prime Minister to legislators. adding that that this defence includes attacks from Somalia, Alshabaab or any other foreign power.
Though he is not from Tigray his administration was Tigrian fronted and upon his exit the influence of Ethiopia over Somaliland has diminished under Abiy as can be exemplified by the refusal to host Somalia President Farmajo in Hargeisa
This apt Ethiopian cooperation with Somaliland was established and thrived under the long reign of Tigrians in Ethiopia .
But for the last three years that is since Abiy Ahmed of Oromo ethnicity assumed office things have changed with Somalia being the main focus thus a dent to the hitherto support relations .
In the words of President Muse Bihi as he admonished the United Nations office in Mogadishu for acting as a political agent of the Somalia Federal government “respect the sovereignty Somaliland or leave her alone.
Though this words were expressed to the UN it is worthy that PM Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia ponder for it appears that the Noble Peace prize he won last year has gone to his head as did that of Myanmar’s Aung Sung did after winning the same prize in which she turned Rohingya butcher .
Just months after winning the coveted Nobel Peace Prize, Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was fighting accusations of his interfering with the affairs of neighbouring countries.
This is according to two United Nations reports of November 2019 accusing him of being lukewarm in South Sudan peace process and fuelling fires of instability in Somalia
As far as Somaliland is concerned the One Somalia policy pursued by PM Abiy is an infringement on its Sovereignty thus a red Line and In the words of the head of state “recognition or not, and though impoverished Somaliland will bow to none, politically, militarily or economically”
So while Somalilanders are praying for an expedited reconciliation to the grievances driving both sides to war in Ethiopia local hearts are with the people of Tigray for in ETHIOPIA the SOMALILAND BREAD is BUTTERED by TIGRIANS.