Africa Union circumvents the discord between Ethiopia and Somalia

The African Union’s efforts to address the Somalia-Ethiopia dispute have encountered significant obstacles, according to a UN official who spoke on Monday. This underscores the complex dynamics at play when managing conflicts between member states within the continental body.

During a session of the UN Security Council focusing on Somalia’s situation, Catriona Laing, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Somalia, expressed dissatisfaction with the recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa. She noted that the summit chose to prioritize education, science, and innovation over addressing peace and security concerns, despite brief discussions on tensions between member states.

Laing’s concerns stem from a recent development involving a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on January 1st between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a breakaway region claimed by Somalia. Somalia strongly objected to the MoU, declaring it null and void.

Laing highlighted that the tension resulting from the MoU undermines Somalia’s recent progress, including its admission to the East African Community and the successful completion of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Furthermore, Somalia recently achieved the lifting of an arms embargo and obtained the African Union (AU) Executive Council’s endorsement for a Security Council seat in 2025-26.

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