By: Yusuf M Hasan
ADIS ABABA (Somalilandsun) – The country is set for strengthened commercial ties with Ethiopia.
The two neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somaliland will sign a broad based Bi-lateral partnership agreement before the end of the year.
The forthcoming agreement that encompasses enhanced Security, Commercial, Diplomatic etc relations is as per accords reached in Addis Ababa during a meeting between Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar and Hon Berhane Gebre-Kristos the foreign ministers of Somaliland and Ethiopia respectively.
During The Discussions that took place at the Ethiopian ministry of foreign affairs headquarters the new Ethiopian foreign minister promised not only maintain prevalent existing bi-lateral relations but strengthen them in the process.
The two parties that agreed to set up respective national Technical committees with the mandate to explore and establish parameters for multi-sectored partnership.
The technical committees which will meet in the Ethiopian city of Dire-Dawa in November in order to strategize thus reach consesus on a number of proposed partnerships before official signing in December.
Among the issues on the table for deliberations in Dire-Dawa include avenues for improved partnerships on Commerce geared towards availing citizens from both sides ease of livelihoods accrued from exchange of goods at favourable prices and devoid of usual bureaucracies.
Other issues on the table include shared inter-border tax collection, security, and use of Berbera port which is currently the main imports and exports outlet for Ethiopia which is landlocked.
The two foreign ministers who also dwelt on the issue of electricity supply to Somaliland which has been a topic on numerous occasions concurred that the technical teams should give priority to this matter thus enable Somaliland to benefit from cheap power source.
While this is the first meeting between the two countries since the death of former PM Meles Zenawi it is also the first for Hon Berhane Gebre-Kristos who assumed office recently as a replacement for former holder and current PM Haile Mariam Desalegn.
The proposed meeting in Dire-Dawa and subsequent signing of the all encompassing partnership agreement comes at a time when the two countries need to clear the ongoing insecurity encountered by Ethiopians of Somaliland origin living in the Zone five area.