Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged respect for Somalia's sovereignty after Somaliland signed a disputed deal with Ethiopia for sea access. / Photo: AA

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was visiting Eritrea on Monday – just a week after the breakaway region of Somaliland reached a deal with Ethiopia that has raised tensions in the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has vehemently rejected the agreement, which gives landlocked Ethiopia access to the Red Sea through Somaliland – a separatist northwestern region.

Mohamud's arrival in Asmara was announced by his office and the Eritrean information ministry in separate posts on X, accompanied by pictures of him being welcomed by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

"The two leaders will discuss issues of mutual benefit for both nations including strengthening ties and fostering cooperation," Mohamud's office said.


Somalia has branded the surprise memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on January 1 in Addis Ababa an act of "aggression" and a violation of its sovereignty, and appealed for international support.

The African Union and the United States among others have called for calm and respect for Somalia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but the move has not been recognised internationally and is staunchly opposed by the central government in Mogadishu.

The January 1 pact gave Ethiopia access to commercial maritime services and a military base, with Somaliland leasing it 20 kilometres of coastline for 50 years.

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa and one of the biggest landlocked nations in the world, was cut off from the coast after Eritrea seceded and declared independence in 1993 following a three-decade war.

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