Egypt ‘stands by Somalia’ amid row with Ethiopia

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Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has pledged support for Somalia amid a row with Ethiopia over a sea access deal with Somaliland.

Ethiopia on Monday signed a deal to utilise one of the seaports of Somaliland, drawing criticism from Somalia.

Somalia, which considers Somaliland part of its territory, has condemned the deal,terming it an act of “aggression” and a violation of its sovereignty.

Somaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognised as an independent state.

In a phone call with Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Mr Sisi pledged “Egypt’s firm position to stand by Somalia and support its security and stability”, Mr Sisi’s spokesman Ahmed Famy said on Tuesday, adding that the two leaders also discussed “regional developments” and bilateral relations.

President Mohamud also spoke by phone with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad on bilateral and regional relations of mutual interest, the Somalia presidency said.

The European Union bloc has criticised the deal, urging for respect for Somalia’s “unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“This is key for the peace and stability of the entire Horn of Africa region,” the EU said in a statement.

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