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Kenya proposes treaty to ease Somalia-Ethiopia tensions

Kenya President, William Ruto, right, accompanied by Somalia President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, left, attends the IGAD summit in Entebbe, Uganda. 18/01/2024   -  
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Kenya on Thursday announced a proposal for a regional maritime treaty to defuse tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia.

Ethiopia in January signed a deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland to lease a portion of its coastland in return for possible recognition of the region, which has claimed independence from Somalia since 1991.

The deal angered Somalia, fueling concerns of futher destabilisation in the Horn of Africa. 

In early April, tensions escalated when Somalia ordered Ethiopia’s ambassador to leave the country, as well as the closure of Ethiopia’s consulates in the region of Somaliland and the semiautonomous region of Puntland.

The regional treaty proposed by Kenya in consultation with Djibouti and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) would govern how landlocked states in the region can access ports on commercial terms, Kenya's principal secretary for Foreign Affairs, Korir Sing'oei, said Thursday.

Somalia and Ethiopia are considering the proposal, according to Sing'oei in an interview with Reuters news agency.

He said that the treaty would be a way to ensure regional stability, adding that the two countries' leaders have been asked to meet to discuss the proposal.

It came as Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday met with his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto in Nairobi as part of efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

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