Ethiopia Needs Red Sea Port, Naval Base to Escape the Risks of Great Power Games: US Political Analyst

8 Mons Ago
Ethiopia Needs Red Sea Port, Naval Base to Escape the Risks of Great Power Games: US Political Analyst


“What can we do to the 120 million Ethiopians on the event that the consequence of great power games on the Red Sea puts the country’s lifeline-Port Djibouti under siege?” wondered Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the lawmakers on Tuesday.

Seconding the Premier’s query, Andrew Korybko (PhD), a Moscow-based American political analyst, warns "Ethiopia will forever remain vulnerable to great power games unless its naval force is restored.”

With his recent article titled “It’s Not Controversial For Ethiopia To Negotiate For Its Own Port In A Neighboring Country,” Korybko, attempting to expound why Ethiopia’s quest to negotiate for its own port in a neighboring country is legal, rational, pragmatic, and in the region’s objective interests; builds on Prime Minister Abiy’s remark.

“The New Cold War and related proxy conflicts between its protagonists, particularly those fought around the Red Sea, could disrupt the maritime logistics upon which Ethiopia’s economy depends due to its reliance on fertilizer and fuel imports,” he explained.       

Like the Premier, Korybko stressed there is no unfairness for Ethiopia in questing seaport at the Red Sea, while states quite distant from the sea have accessed it.

“What Ethiopia wants isn’t any different than what the US and China have already obtained in Djibouti, namely a long-term lease over its own port there,” he said.

For Korybko, Ethiopia’s interest makes it an ‘appealing partner’ unlike the aforesaid new cold war rivals for Ethiopia is not a protagonist to Djibouti.    

Another sound justification by Korybko for why Ethiopia’s quest is legal, rational and within the region’s developmental aspiration is the payment Djibouti by states with spacious military bases is far less than that of Ethiopia for commercial port access.

“The US agreed in 2014 to pay Djibouti $63 million a year to lease its base for the next ten years with the option to extend this for another decade, while China’s publicly financed Global Times cited a foreign media report in 2016 to claim that their country pays $100 million a year for its own base. Although other reports cite different figures for China’s rent, the point is that neither it nor the US pay anywhere near the annual $2 billion in commercial port fees that Ethiopia does per Addis Standard’s recent report,” he illustrated.      

Korybko further justified Ethiopia’s lawfulness and rationality by highlighting   that “renegotiating the existing Djiboutian-Ethiopian deal is entirely in line with international law.”

The writer finally warns if Ethiopia’s query fails due to third party interference, then the Horn of Africa will remain hostage to Great Power games with its security and sovereignty threatened, and Ethiopia’s and region’s economy endangered.


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