Somalia's President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, alleged that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was attempting to obstruct access to the African Union Summit. (Photo AU)

Amidst existing tensions surrounding a contentious maritime agreement, Somalia and Ethiopia clashed once more on Saturday regarding Somali allegations that Ethiopian security forces obstructed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud from attending the African Union summit.

President Mohamud strongly condemned the incident as "unacceptable behavior" and called for a comprehensive investigation by the African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Additionally, he noted that the President of Djibouti faced a similar incident.

However, Ethiopia countered, stating that President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was warmly received and clarified that the Somali delegation was barred due to their attempt to enter a venue with weapons.

Tensions between the two nations escalated following Addis Ababa's signing of a memorandum of understanding with the self-declared Somaliland in January, granting it desired commercial and military access to the sea.

President Mohamud later addressed reporters, stating that Ethiopian security had obstructed his and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh's entry to the AU headquarters for the meeting, citing an armed guard blocking their path.

Ethiopia, through Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum, refuted Somalia's account, asserting that Mohamud was welcomed with full honors but noted that the Somali delegation's refusal of Ethiopian security led to their exclusion from the venue.

Somalia's foreign ministry denounced Ethiopia's actions and called for an impartial investigation by the AU, alleging a breach of diplomatic and international norms.

The maritime agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, wherein Somaliland leased a portion of its coastline to Ethiopia for 50 years in exchange for potential recognition, has further strained relations between the two countries.

Ethiopia, formerly landlocked due to Eritrea's independence, sought maritime access after losing its access to Eritrea's ports in 1998-2000 war, primarily relying on Djibouti for sea trade since then.

Somalia has accused Ethiopia of violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity over the January 1 memorandum of understanding with Somaliland that declared independence in 1991.

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