Diplomatic Tension: Somalia Claims Ethiopia Tried to Prevent Its President’s Attendance at AU Summit

Somalia has criticized what it perceives as “an aggressive move by the Ethiopian government,” alleging that Ethiopian security forces attempted to prevent Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud from attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, according to a government statement released on Saturday.

In a statement issued by the Somali National News Agency SONNA on Saturday, the Federal Republic of Somalia vehemently denounced what it termed as “the provocative action by the Ethiopian government to impede the delegation of the Somali President from participating in the 2024 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.”

The Somali government’s statement emphasized that Ethiopia’s actions constitute a violation of diplomatic norms and international protocols, as well as the established customs of the African Union. The statement also criticized Ethiopia for its recent unpredictable behavior.

Somalia expressed dismay over the incident, highlighting the obligation of Ethiopia, as the host of the African Union headquarters, to treat all African leaders equally. The statement warned that failure to uphold this obligation may lead to a reconsideration of the location of the AU headquarters.

Mogadishu condemned the incident as “unacceptable behavior” and urged the African Union to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recounted the events, stating that Ethiopian security personnel obstructed his and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh’s entry into the summit venue.

While Ethiopia claimed to have warmly welcomed Mohamud, Somalia accused Ethiopia of obstructing the Somali delegation’s entry due to their security detail carrying weapons.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesperson refuted Somalia’s claims, stating that Ethiopia had provided full honors to Mohamud but had blocked the Somali delegation from entering a venue with weapons.

The standoff between Somalia and Ethiopia arises amidst tensions over a maritime pact between Ethiopia and Somaliland, which Somalia perceives as a violation of its sovereignty.

The maritime agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland involves the leasing of coastal territory by Somaliland to Ethiopia in exchange for potential recognition, a move contested by Somalia.

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