Somaliland MP Mohamed Abib, welcomed the Ethiopian government’s interest in investing in the Saylac port in Somaliland just days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared Ethiopia’s right to access the sea through peaceful means.
Abib said it is essential to negotiate and establish an agreement that will benefit both people.
“In our region, we are all too familiar with our people’s challenges. The development of more ports in Somaliland, even up to 20, would be in the best interest of the people of Somaliland,” Abib stated.
The lawmaker added that the United Arab Emirates has invested in the Berbera Port without infringing upon Somaliland’s sovereignty. Similarly, Ethiopia can invest in the Saylac Port by adhering to the legal process.
In a televised speech addressed to Ethiopian parliamentarians, Abiy Ahmed said access to the port is an existential matter for Ethiopia and that Ethiopians should at least start discussing the Red Sea.
The Prime Minister further outlined potential offerings in return for access to the port, including shares in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopian Airlines, and Ethio-telecom.
“The GERD is the number one dam in Africa. It is being completed. Let us invest in Assab, in Zeila or Adulis (we don’t have much problem with the choice of the place), and you take 30%, 20% of the share from the GERD; we are not saying give us alone; we are saying take from us also. If you don’t want to take GERD, Ethiopian Airlines is number one in Africa, a huge airline. Take 20, 30%, and give us a port. If you say you don’t want Airlines, Ethio Telecom which is a big telecom in Africa with 70+ million subscribers, take a share; the world is buying it; let’s do that,” the premier conveyed. “But it’s impossible to be [prohibitive]. If we are discussing the issues of GERD and Tekeze and refuse to discuss the Red Sea issues, it is impossible. Just like the freshwater concerns you, it concerns us too.”