Ethiopia-Somalia Tensions Escalate as Federal Government Orders Closure of Ethiopian Consulates

Published: April 4, 2024
Somali Prime Minister Hamze Abdi Barre

Mogadishu, Somalia (HORSEEDMEDIA) – The simmering tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia’s federal government reached a boiling point on Thursday as the Somali Cabinet approved a resolution ordering the closure of Ethiopian consulates in the cities of Garowe and Hargeisa within a week.

The resolution, signed by Somali Prime Minister Hamze Abdi Barre, cited articles from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as justification for the move. It accused Ethiopia of violating Somalia’s sovereignty and independence through “open intervention” in the country’s internal affairs.

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated rapidly since Ethiopia signed a memorandum of understanding with the breakaway region of Somaliland in January 2024. Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but no country has recognized it as a sovereign state.

The federal government accused Ethiopia in February of disrupting a delegation led by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at an African Union meeting. Puntland, a semi-autonomous region aligned with the federal government, cut ties with Mogadishu last week.

Adding fuel to the fire, Ethiopia signed trade, security and education agreements with Puntland’s regional authorities on Wednesday.

Under the new Somali resolution, Ethiopian diplomats in Garowe and Hargeisa must depart the country within seven days. The Ethiopian ambassador to Somalia has also been instructed to return to Addis Ababa for consultations.

The resolution warns that Ethiopian diplomats who refuse to comply will face additional measures for violating Somalia’s sovereignty in accordance with international diplomatic rules.

The deteriorating situation risks inflaming regional tensions in the Horn of Africa. Somalia’s federal government maintains that the self-declared republic of Somaliland remains part of its sovereign territory.