An Ethiopian delegation led by Finance Minister Ahmed Shide arrived in Hargeisa Wednesday in what sources said was set to lay the groundwork for PM Ahmed Abiy’s mediation for a visit of President Mohamed Farmaajo to the break-away region of Somaliland.
Shide arrived in Hargeisa at about noon and is expected to hold talks with top Somaliland leadership. It is not clear if he will be meeting President Muse Bihi.
Shide’s arrival in Somaliland follows reports of a planned historic visit by Farmaajo to the breakaway region which Bihi has termed as ‘rumours’.
While delivering the annual address to Parliament Monday, Muse was categorial that Farmaajo’s visit ‘will never happen considering the atrocities committed by his country on the citizens of Somaliland’.
Though he welcomed Farmaajo’s public apology, Muse said any meeting with the Somali leader will only happen on condition Somalia acknowledges Somaliland’s sovereignty and its decision to secede in May 18, 1991.
Muse also noted the brief meeting with Farmaajo in Addis Ababa last week did not address anything regarding talks or who would be mediating adding there have been a number of countries involved in the long running talks which have never resumed since 2015.
There have been reports Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed whose country enjoys cordial relations with Somaliland is keen on taking up the lead role in bringing the leaders of the two sides together.
Ethiopia controls 19% stake at the Berbera Port which is being upgraded under a 30-year concession by the UAE ports operator DP World.