reset course

Somalia: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud may use port deals to reset relations with Ethiopia

By Mohamed Sheikh Nor

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Posted on May 27, 2022 12:26

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud takes office in Mogadishu
Somalia’s newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed shake hands during the handover ceremony at the palace in Mogadishu, Somalia May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the former president of Somalia (2012 – 2017), is back in the saddle after a prolonged electoral process that has left the country fractured. Can he pull his country together, and reset relations with Ethiopia?

After over a year of numerous delays, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud won the polls on 15 May.

He will be seeking a more balanced relationship with neighbouring Ethiopia and the reestablishment of Somalia’s reputation as a country back on the road to recovery, both politically and economically.

President Hassan Sheikh’s two major challenges are internal: the fight against Al Shabaab militants and reconciling with the breakaway northern region of Somaliland, says Ambassador Ahmed Isse Awad, a former foreign minister of Somalia. “Unless he provides a permanent solution, the problem [will] remain.”

Solving these problems will require renewing relations with Ethiopia. Addis Ababa invaded Somalia in 2006 and again in 2010 to fight Al-Shabaab militants. It has also been attempting to broker a port deal with Somaliland to diversify its current dependence on Djibouti for access to the sea.

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