On the 14th of November, the British “Jane’s Defense Weekly” website published a report by Jeremy Benny on “Ethiopia is consulting a number of countries on the reconstruction of the Navy.”
The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defence Force, General Berhanu Jura, has confirmed that the landlocked country is seeking to establish a naval base in another country.
In an interview broadcast on the Ethiopian News Agency on the 8th, General Berhanu said that Addis Ababa has made a “strategic decision to develop maritime forces around its periphery” and said that the country is actively working to rebuild the navy.
Since Eritrea lost its coastline in the Red Sea after independence in 1993, Ethiopia has no navy. The peace agreement signed in Saudi Arabia in September this year to end the 20-year confrontation paved the way for Ethiopia to regain access to the Eritrean port, a move that will ease Ethiopia’s dependence on Djibouti’s international trade.
The interview revealed that the new naval base may be built in the Indian Ocean rather than the Red Sea coast. He said: “We are negotiating with other countries to restore naval power, capabilities and structure.”
Berhanu also pointed out that many countries outside the region “have shown an increasingly strong desire to establish naval bases in Somalia, Djibouti, Puntland and Eritrea.”
China has established a naval security base in Djibouti, while the United Arab Emirates has used Eritrea’s Port of Assab to support its military intervention in Yemen and is building a naval base and air base near Berbera, a divided area in Somalia.