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Ethiopia: Govt Renews Call for Rules-Based Access to Red Sea

Ethiopia has no intention of threatening the sovereignty of any nation but would like rules-based access to the Red Sea, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said, calling stakeholders for discussions.

The PM made the above remark yesterday while addressing the 3rd year 4th Regular Session of the House of People’s Representatives.

Speaking at the occasion, Abiy expressed Ethiopia’s desire to a principle-based access to the Red Sea that will not harm the rights and benefits of any of its coastal neighbors. “Ethiopia has no intention to violate or harm others’ sovereignty and needs to make a business law to resolve the issue.

“Ethiopia’s neighbors are expected to take its pursuit for sea access positively as the country could not manage such a large population without reaching an agreement on port use. Ethiopia called coastal neighbors just for discussion, not for conflict and if the situation is not managed by discussion, no one will be able to control what would happen next.”

He also firmly rejected some groups’ rumors about political conspiracy that associates Ethiopia’s aspiration to sea access with a plan to grab another country’s land by force.

“Ethiopia demands not what has been circulated on some media and our real demand is what I am telling you now…in addition, I would like to recall again all countries concerned with the issue that Ethiopia was the owner of two ports around 30 years ago. During that time, the country had 46 or 47 million people and its GDP was around 10-13 billion USD. Then, it lost its ownership status and became a commercial user of Assab and Djibouti ports. Because of the war with Eritrea, Ethiopia remains reliant on one port.”

The people and the government of Ethiopia value the contribution of Djiboutian brothers and sisters and it has no risk or threat from the Djibouti government and people. However, if global powers enter into war, Ethiopia’s sole status would be threatened. “That is why we are saying Ethiopia should not be over dependent on Djibouti ports any longer.”

Ethiopia is now in risk of losing its primary sea access more than any other country due the global powers’ rivalry. The goodwill of Djibouti might not be guardian of Ethiopia’s interest if war broke out by countries’ having military bases in the region, the PM emphasized.

“Moreover, many countries far away from the region are deploying military personnel across the Red Sea coastline. So, why does it become so strange and wrong when Ethiopia requests the same thing? Some others are also considering our appeal to shift the public attention and this is also duly wrong,” the Premier emphasized.

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