IN a strategic diplomatic manoeuvre on Tuesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presented a proposal to neighbouring countries, offering them a share in Ethiopia’s ambitious dam project and a stake in its national airline. The announcement was made during a parliamentary address, where Prime Minister Abiy stressed the importance of adopting a win-win approach in negotiations to secure sea access.
Addressing concerns about the proposal, Prime Minister Abiy emphasised that Ethiopia was not posing an inappropriate question outside the bounds of international law. Instead, he highlighted the country’s commitment to peaceful dialogue and the pursuit of lawful and business-oriented solutions.
‘Ethiopia has no desire to threaten the sovereignty of any nation. Our aim is to discuss this matter within the framework of the law and business principles,’ stated Prime Minister Abiy during his address.
Despite experiencing substantial population and economic growth, Ethiopia finds itself landlocked without a direct route to the sea. This limitation has prompted the government to explore innovative solutions to address its strategic concern, with Abiy expressing the country’s need for a rules-based access to the Red Sea.
‘We have no intention of threatening the sovereignty of any nation, but we would like a rules-based access to the Red Sea. Our request is to initiate discussions towards sustainable solutions,’ he affirmed.
Abiy extended gratitude to Djibouti for its significant role in supporting Ethiopia’s growth and development by allowing the use of its port facilities over the past years. Ethiopia lost its Red Sea ports in the early 1990s following the Eritrean War of Independence, which concluded in 1991 with Eritrea gaining independence from Ethiopia.
The separation of the two nations left Ethiopia landlocked, impacting its ability to conduct efficient maritime trade. The current diplomatic initiative seeks to address this longstanding challenge through a collaborative and law-based approach, stressing the importance of mutually beneficial solutions for all involved parties.