Addis Ababa, Members of the House of People's Representatives (HPR) have underscored the urgency of addressing Ethiopia's longstanding quest for access to sea through negotiation in order to ensure mutual benefit.
Ethiopia, a country with a population exceeding 120 million, has seen its access to Red Sea ports dwindle from two to a single port in Djibouti during the last three decades.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed emphasized yesterday the need for proactive engagement with regional partners to explore mutually beneficial solutions that ensure Ethiopia's access to seaports.
He has also called for continental and global support to address the landlocked economic challenges faced by the country.
Members of the HPR echoed the Prime Minister's call for a diplomatic approach to resolve the problem.
The members emphasized the country's desire to utilize neighboring ports in a peaceful, win-win partnership, enabling Ethiopia to effectively respond to its growing development demands and accelerate economic prosperity.
Teshome Wale, one of the HPR members, expressed his support for the Prime Minister's proposal stating that it holds the potential for a lasting solution to Ethiopia's port-related challenges.
He further stated that the government’s approach is centered on mutual benefits not only for the present but also for the next generation. “We should benefit together. We have resources we can share.”
Establishing relationships based on national interest and mutual benefits with all parties involved is essential, the member added.
Highlighting Ethiopia's heavy reliance on Djibouti for export trade, Teshome underscored the critical need for alternative port a matter of survival.
Ethiopia's lack of port hinders the development of mega projects and also impedes import-export trade.
The other member, Dessalegn Reso, also pointed out his concerns about the escalating cost of port usage, which hinders the country's ability to import goods efficiently and meet the needs of its growing population.
He urged neighboring countries to recognize Ethiopia's quest for port access as a matter of mutual benefit, emphasizing the potential for shared growth and development.
According to him, the country's survival hinges on securing reliable and accessible port facilities.
“Absence of port is a big obstacle for our import-export trade. We are living in a situation where we need goods from other countries and that are being delayed for various reasons. If we get a port, we can do efficient import-export trade. With the population growing, it is impossible to carry this burden without a port. Our survival is at risk without port.”
Sadiq Adem, another HPR member, emphasized that Ethiopia's request for access to the sea has been a longstanding topic that requires urgency.
“As our population grows and our economy expands, let us break the silence and engage in open dialogue and negotiation. It is imperative to pro-actively seek viable solutions through negotiation before challenges arise. We must engage in meaningful discussions to pave the way for shared development and prosperity
Source: Ethiopian News Agency