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Somaliland president described Somalia’s rejection of Berbera Deal a ‘Declaration of War’



AFRICA NEWS — Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has described Somalia’s rejection of a port deal the former signed with Ethiopia and DP World, as a ‘declaration of war’.

The Somali government recently declared the tripartite agreement signed over the management of the Berbera port in Somaliland as ‘null and void’ arguing that the deal violated the unity and constitution of the country.

Somaliland is internationally recognised as an autonomous state of Somalia.

Bihi insists that the state has the freedom to approve this deal that will improve the lives of its people, but the Somali prime minister Hassan Ali said that all international agreements must be approved by the central government.

The DP World chief executive officer, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem defended his company’s role in the dispute saying Somaliland has been “independent” from Somalia for 28 years and its parliament approved deal.

Somalia has appealed to the Arab League to intervene in this dispute that risks souring relations with the United Arab Emirates.

Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991. It has been under pressure to hold talks with Somalia which have so far been futile.

Somaliland can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system. The territory has been experiencing stability and economic prosperity and has been influential in the fight against piracy and terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

26 years of diplomatic isolation has made it difficult for Somaliland to have access to loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


UAE to train Somaliland forces under military base deal: Somaliland president



ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will train Somaliland security forces as part of a deal to establish a military base in the semi-autonomous region, Somaliland’s president said on Thursday.

UAE government officials could not immediately be reached for comment – but the UAE has committed to invest hundreds of million dollars in recent years in the territory on a strategically important stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Aden.

The UAE began construction last year of a base on a site at the airport of the Somaliland port city Berbera, and will be allowed to maintain a presence for 30 years. Berbera is less than 300 km (190 miles) south of war-torn Yemen, where UAE troops are fighting rebels as part of a Saudi-backed coalition.

President Muse Bihi Abdi said the UAE would train police and military in Somaliland, which wants independence from war-torn Somalia but is not recognized internationally. He said he expected the agreement to be finalised within two months.

“They have the resources and the knowledge,” Abdi told Reuters in an interview in Abu Dhabi.

UAE has become more assertive in its foreign policy in recent years. The UAE Armed Forces have been fighting in the Yemen conflict since 2015 and in the past deployed in international operations including Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Abdi said the military base, which he expects will be completed this year, will guarantee economic development and security for Somaliland and act as a deterrent to extremist groups in the region.

Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Saad Ali Shire, who was present during the interview, declined to disclose how many UAE soldiers would be stationed at the base.


Several regional powers have set up military bases along the Horn of Africa coastline, including Turkey in Somalia’s capital. The United States, China, Japan and France all have bases in neighboring Djibouti.

“It’s safer to have a lot of military in the area,” Abdi said.

Abdi said he hoped UAE investments, including a new civilian airport and a road connecting Berbera to landlocked Ethiopia, will lead to a “huge creation of employment” in Somaliland where unemployment is rampant.

“The biggest threat to Somaliland is poverty,” he said.

Dubai’s DP World is also developing Berbera port and building a free trade zone nearby.

This week, Somalia’s parliament voted to ban DP World from the country, an act that it said had nullified the agreement.

Abdi said the vote was a “joke” and a “political mistake” that would have no impact on the DP World agreement that includes the government of Ethiopia.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto state since then..

Abdi also said he expected the UAE would make a hard currency deposit into Somaliland’s central bank but added that there had been no agreement between the two sides.

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Somali News

Somalia bans Dubai ports World from operating in Somaliland



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Somali News

Switzerland to host Somali unity talks



Switzerland is ready to host talks between the Federal Government of Somalia and the breakaway Somaliland, official said.

Somaliland Foreign minister Sa’aad Ali Shire told the media in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway state on Saturday, that the talks would be held soon, without giving specific dates.

“The talks between the two sides will restart in Switzerland soon,” he said.

However, Dr Shire stated that a preliminary meeting between presidents Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of Somalia and Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi of Somalland, would be held in neighbouring Djibouti.

“The two sides will set the agenda of the talks in Switzerland during the preliminary discussions in Djibouti,” said Dr Shire.

A London conference on Somalia in May 2013 welcomed the dialogue between the Federal Government and Somaliland in Ankara, Turkey in the preceding month, to clarify their future relationship.

Conference participants encouraged further talks between the two sides.

While Mogadishu insists on the unity of Somalia as paramount, the leaders of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland want to secure secession it declared in May 1991.

Somaliland is the authority that governs the territory formerly known as British Somaliland Protectorate, which joined with the former Italian-ruled Somalia, to form the Republic of Somalia on July 1, 1960.

Although Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia, the region remains unrecognised by the international community.

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