By Enyichukwu Enemanna
British authorities have called for restraint as tension brews in the Horn of Africa over a deal between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland which has repeatedly said it is an independent nation.
Somaliland, a former British protectorate, is considered a territory in Somalia.
After the surprise deal between the duo, Somalia vowed to defend its territory by “all legal means”.
The deal gives landlocked Ethiopia long-desired access to the Red Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
Somaliland which proclaimed its independence since 1991 not recognised internationally.
It signed the memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Monday, saying Addis Ababa is the first to recognize it as a sovereign nation.
“The UK is concerned by escalating tensions in the Horn of Africa,” the British embassy in Somalia said on X.
“We reaffirm our full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” it added.
“We urge restraint and dialogue to peacefully resolve issues.”
Somalia has branded the deal an “aggression” by neighbouring Ethiopia and a violation of its sovereignty and appealed to the United Nations and the African Union for urgent meetings.
Somaliland’s leadership has said Ethiopia would “formally recognise the Republic of Somaliland” under the deal, but this has not been confirmed by the government in Addis Ababa.
Among international players, the United States, African Union, European Union and the Arab League have called for Somalia’s sovereignty to be respected.
Since the accord was signed, several British politicians have used the deal to call for the UK to recognise Somaliland.
“For far too long the UK has not done enough. Now we need to show leadership and ensure Somaliland is recognised by the UK,” former defence minister Gavin Williamson said on X on Tuesday.