Egypt seeks military base in Somaliland, Ethiopia draws redline

August 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Dina Mufti, has said that the Egyptian government’s intention to establish a military base in the East African region, particularly in Somaliland, will not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s interests and safety.

Addressing a weekly news briefing, Mufti stressed that, “Egypt as a sovereign country reserves the right to establish relations with any country [in the region]. But this should not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s stability.”

Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia not recognized as an independent country.

Late in July, a delegation from Egypt met with Musa Bihi Abdi, Somaliland’s self-declared leader, and reportedly proposed setting up a military camp in the northwestern part of the territory.

The Ethiopian government said it was following developments very closely. “That is a red line for us,” he said, adding that Ethiopia wants friendly relations with Somaliland, despite its non-state status.

Some analysts see Egypt’s move as retaliation against Somalia, a country that supports Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile as Ethiopia and Egypt continue to wrangle over Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

After the failure of US-sponsored talks this February between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the African Union brought the three countries together for continued negotiations in June.

Last week, Ethiopia submitted a proposal on the filling of the dam – a proposal met with misgivings by Egypt and Sudan, which asked for time to review it.

Egypt and Ethiopia at diplomatic odds over South Sudan’s fake news

A Military vehicle ferrying Ethiopian soldiers |Photo: Supplied

June 3, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Egyptian government and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia are at diplomatic loggerheads after an unverified news story originally published by SSNN claimed on Tuesday that, the government of South Sudan had allowed Ethiopia to build a Military Base in Pagak, an area that borders South Sudan and Ethiopia.

In response to the allegations circulating on social media since Tuesday, the South Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday dispelled the rumors as fake news stories aimed at causing misunderstanding between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan hereby denies in the strongest terms possible the information which has been circulated in the social media that the Government of South Sudan [had] agreed to Egyptian request to build a Military Base in Pagak.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation would like to inform the public that the information contained in that piece of news is categorically unfounded and baseless. There is nothing of that kind.”

“No any agreement has been reached whatsoever to allocate a piece of land for Egyptian Military Base in the territory of the Republic of South Sudan. Both countries, Ethiopia and Egypt, are close friends of South Sudan. They have been cooperating in the implementation process of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), particularly on Chapter Two which deals with security arrangements, by providing uniforms, medicines and recently COVID-19 items, among others.”

“Ethiopia has been also assisting in maintaining peace and security in Abyei area through the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA). This spurious allegation and propaganda is waged by enemies of peace in the country so as to stain our relations with our neighbouring countries and the entire region.”

“South Sudan is a peace loving country and will always continue supporting peaceful co- existence with its neighbors, the region and the entire world, for the mutual benefit of all.”

In recent months, diplomatic tensions between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have almost reached the boiling point, as the Ethiopian government insisted that it will not agree with Sudan and Egypt, and that it would press ahead and fill the reservoir behind the Giant Dam.