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(THE CONVERSATION) Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claimed on Oct. 13, 2023, that his landlocked country has a right to demand maritime access to a Red Sea port from its neighbors in the Horn of Africa – first through diplomatic means, he said, or by force if necessary.
In confrontational language, Abiy all but threatened conflict should Ethiopia be denied what he called the country’s intrinsic right to waterway expansion. He has since sought to soften his comments, but the remarks have nonetheless rattled the region.
Such a move would help Ethiopia to reassert itself as the dominant player in the Horn of Africa, located in East Africa along a strategic maritime trade route. Ethiopia has been landlocked since coastal Eritrea broke away and became independent in 1993 after a decadeslong war.
Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner once acclaimed for promoting peace and international...