Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has a mountain to climb in his latest bid at mediation between Somaliland and Somalia.
A proposal this week to have Dr Abiy accompany Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullali Mohamed alias Farmaajo to visit Somaliland's President Muse Bihi Abdi in the capital Hargeisa as part of efforts to warm relations between the two, was rejected by the would-be hosts.
President Bihi Abdi rejected Farmaajo's inquiry, even though he did accept an apology issued by the Somali president on past atrocities in Hargeisa committed by former president Siad Barre.
Bihi Abdi said the apology was "timely", but then told local parliamentarians on Tuesday the request for a visit by both Dr Abiy and Farmaajo was "just ridiculous."
Dr Abiy reacted by sending an emissary to Hargeisa, in the wake of a public rejection for his proposal. But the move was ruined by the tough stance taken by bureaucrats in Mogadishu and Hargeisa.
"Farmaajo's visit to the Republic of Somaliland is absolutely a day dream and mission impossible," said Liban Yousuf Osman, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister in Somaliland. "The government of Somaliland stands for the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said