Somalia expels Ethiopia ambassador for 'bluntly interfering' in internal affairs

Somalia's government on Thursday ordered the expulsion of Ethiopia's ambassador and the closure of two consulates, accusing Addis Ababa of "bluntly interfering" in its internal affairs.

The announcement comes as Somalia is locked in a fierce dispute with Ethiopia over a maritime deal that Addis Ababa signed with the breakaway region of Somaliland in January -- raising tensions in the Horn of Africa.

The cabinet said in a statement that the foreign ministry was instructed to "inform the ambassador of the Ethiopian government in the Federal Republic of Somalia to return to his country for consultations".

It also said it was ordering the shutdown of Ethiopian consulates in Somaliland and in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the departure of their diplomats and staff within two weeks.

The cabinet statement charged that the Ethiopian government was "bluntly interfering with Somalia's internal affairs and is in violation of Somalia's sovereignty".

The move followed a visit on Wednesday by a delegation headed by Puntland's finance minister Mohammed Farah Mohammed to Ethiopia, where he was welcomed by the state minister of foreign affairs Mesganu Arga.

"Our resolve in protecting our territory is steadfast," he said.

"The region can ill-afford more conflict," she told reporters.


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