Ethiopia has struck a “historic” port agreement with Somaliland for sea access, officials said Monday.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the President of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Addis Ababa.

The agreement “shall pave the way to realise the aspiration of Ethiopia to secure access to the sea and diversify its access to seaports,” Ethiopia’s prime minister office posted on X.

Officials also said that this agreement paves the way to allow Ethiopia to have access to a leased military based on the Red Sea.

The details of Monday’s agreement with Somaliland have not been made public but a statement from Mr Abiy’s office said that the MoU signed, between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Somaliland, is intended to serve as a framework for the multisectoral partnership between the two sides.

“It also strengthens their security, economic and political partnership,” the prime minister’s office wrote in a post on X.

Abiy’s national security advisor Redwan Hussein said Ethiopia would have access to a “leased military base on the Red Sea” as part of the agreement.

The agreement paves the way to allow Ethiopia to have commercial marine operations in the region by giving it access to a leased military base on the Red Sea, Redwan Hussien noted.

The prime minister, who signed the MoU with Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi, wrote on X that “all that can be said is thank God”.