Ethiopia's Quest for Sea Access Hinges on Mutual Benefit, Regional Integration

Addis Ababa November 16, 2023 (ENA) Ethiopia's desire for sea access should be understood as an issue of mutual benefit and expediting regional integration, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Misganu Arga underscored. 

Ethiopia, while situated close to the sea, has been deprived of access to ports and is paying a heavy economic price. 

As the country's economic power grows and its population increases, sea access has become a matter of survival.

Recently, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed explained Ethiopia's position to the House of Peoples Representatives, during which he stated that Ethiopia's quest for a sea access is based on business principles and does not infringe on the sovereignty of neighboring countries. 

Rather, using the spirit of good neighborliness, Ethiopia will continue to present its request for sea access through peaceful means and in adherence to international norms.

Speaking with ENA, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Misganu Arga emphasized that sea access is a matter of survival for landlocked Ethiopia. 

He said the country will strengthen diplomatic efforts based on the principle of give-and-take and mutual benefits to achieve sea access through negotiation and peaceful means. 

Providing sea access to Ethiopia goes beyond self-interest and would contribute to sustainable peace and mutual benefit for all countries in the region, he added. 

"As the Prime Minister said, we will never use force but employ our good neighborly ties and friendships, international principles, and mutual benefit to secure our rights,"

The state minister further noted that Ethiopia aims for universal cooperation and regional integration with its neighbors indicating that the sea access issue represents joint development opportunities. 

Ethiopia's foreign policy remains rooted in good neighborliness, mutual benefit and cooperation, he affirmed. 

Ambassador Misganu urged neighboring countries and the international community to see Ethiopia's need for sea access in a positive light. 

"When Ethiopia's interests are respected and its economy expands, surrounding nations stand to benefit, they will never face a threat. Our foreign policy precludes any hostile use of sea access."

In conclusion, he said all countries should grasp that sea access for Ethiopia means mutual gain and collaborative growth. 

Activities in the Red Sea corridor affect Ethiopia's interests, for good or ill, so Ethiopia should have a seat at the table. Its quest for sea access is a matter of give-and-take and shared prosperity.

“We have the right to be included in the Red Sea Council as most of our trade transactions are made and our Ships pass through the red sea corridor. Any activities that underway across this area might affect our interest. while other nations from far away are claiming interest in the area, a country (Ethiopia) that is located only 60 to 100 kilometers from the sea coast should not be denied interest. This is not right."  

Ethiopian News Agency