Somali President Hassan Mohamud addressed MPs following Ethiopia's agreement with Somaliland. (Photo: @HassanSMohamud)

Somalia on Tuesday rejected a pact its breakaway region of Somaliland signed with Ethiopia allowing it to use a major port with access to the Red Sea in return for recognition as an independent state, saying the agreement had no legal force.

Somalia, which views Somaliland as part of its territory, also summoned its ambassador to Ethiopia for deliberations over the agreement signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi on Monday.

The agreement would allow landlocked Ethiopia, which relies on neighbouring Djibouti for most of its maritime trade, to lease 20 km around the port of Berbera, which lies on the Gulf of Aden with access to the Red Sea, for 50 years for its navy and commercial purposes.

In exchange Somaliland's leader said Ethiopia would recognise Somaliland as an independent nation, becoming the first country to do so.

Abiy's stated ambition to secure access to the Red Sea is a source of tension between Ethiopia and its neighbours and has raised concerns of a fresh conflict in the Horn of Africa.

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Source: Reuters

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