The Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa is working as usual, despite Somalia decision to shut it down

The Federal Government of Somalia’s decision on the 4th of this month to close the Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa did not apparently materialise and seems that the move was largely symbolic.

“The Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa is open and things appear to be business as usual” said Saleebaan Saxansaxo, a senior journalist of MM Somali TV, on Saturday during the evening news.

The same day, Mogadishu announced to have expelled Ethiopian Ambassador to Magadishu Mr. Mukhtar Mohamed Waare and closed Addis Ababa’s consulate in Garowe amid rising tensions over the Somaliland port deal with Ethiopia, which is giving Ethiopia access to the Gulf of Aden while Somaliland would in turn get recognition from Ethiopia as per the MoU signed on 1st January by PM Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi.

In an interview with the BBC, Somaliland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Rhoda Jama Elmi emphasised that Mogadishu would not be able to have an impact on the relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia and that the Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa will remain open despite Somalia’s decision.

Somalia has not had any administrative influence in Somaliland for 33 years, and the Ethiopian consulate was opened around 30 years ago when there was no central government in Somalia.