The recent assertion by the Ethiopian Prime Minister that Ethiopia, due to its landlocked status, Ethiopia does not have the right to forcibly secure sea access, is a deeply concerning departure from the principles of international cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Such a claim directly contravenes the United Nations Charter, international law, and the very ideals that underpin our interconnected world.
It is undoubtedly true that every nation possesses unique strengths. Some are blessed with vast reserves of minerals and oil, while others boast a strategic geopolitical location. However, the beauty of international diplomacy lies in the recognition that countries can — and should — leverage their strengths collaboratively, rather than seeking aggressive measures to remedy perceived weaknesses.
Historically, the claim to the right of access to and from the sea has been a significant point of contention. However, it is vital to distinguish between a country’s right to peaceful access to the sea, protected under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the outright territorial aggression. The former is about ensuring that landlocked countries have the means to trade and connect with the world; the latter is a flagrant violation of international norms.
Ethiopia’s past relationship with its neighboring countries has seen highs and lows. However, a claim to use force to obtain sea access not only jeopardizes these relationships but also sends a worrying message to the international community. A precedent where territorial ambitions can be justified on perceived disadvantages can lead to a slippery slope, risking regional and global stability.
Rather than eyeing expansionist policies, Ethiopia should focus on leveraging its numerous strengths. As the second most populous country in Africa, with a rich cultural heritage and rapidly growing economy, Ethiopia has much to offer. Furthermore, it can benefit from its existing trade routes and continue its partnerships with coastal neighbors. Mutual agreements, infrastructure development, and regional economic integration can provide a pathway to addressing Ethiopia’s concerns without resorting to aggression.
Every country faces unique challenges, and while being landlocked can pose certain economic and logistical constraints, it does not grant a nation carte blanche to infringe upon the sovereignty of its neighbors. Ethiopia’s claim, if acted upon, would set a dangerous precedent, undermining the hard-fought principles of peaceful state coexistence.
The international community must stand united in advocating for diplomacy, dialogue, and collaboration. It is through these principles that nations can overcome challenges, foster mutual growth, and create a world that respects the sovereignty and dignity of every state.
Somalis, irrespective of where they reside, hold a deeply-rooted belief in the inviolability of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This unyielding conviction extends to every facet of the nation’s territory: its land, its vast maritime expanse, and the skies above. As enshrined in the Somali constitution, these territorial boundaries are viewed as sacrosanct and represent more than mere lines on a map. They embody the collective identity, history, and aspirations of the Somali people. Any discourse or suggestion that challenges or undermines this foundational belief is not only seen as an affront to the nation’s legal document but also to the very essence of what it means to be Somali. This deeply-held principle is non-negotiable and remains steadfastly beyond the purview of external discussions or compromise.