Somalilandsun – Arrangements towards Somaliland Security Forces receiving training provided by the United Arab Emirates are in advanced stages.
Two days after Somaliland president Musa Behi Abdi revealed the deal the four Somaliland forces commanders have departed to the Emirates to join the already in country presidential delegation.
According to information reaching our news-desk the four Somaliland forces commanders namely General Nuh Tani-Army, Brigadier General Abdilahi Fadal Iman-Police, Admiral Abdi Hersi Dualeh -coast Guards and Brigadier General Mohamed Osman Ibrahim “Xudhuun” –Prisons Service
Summoned by president Musa Behi, The service commanders accompanied by the ministers of livestock & Communications as well as central bank governor messrs Hasan Gafadi, Dr Abdiweli Abdilahi Jibril and Central bank governor Mohamed Abdi Ibrahim respectively departed the Egal international airport on a chartered plane late in the afternoon.
Speaking to Somaliland citizens resident in the UAE the president informed that he has summoned the service commanders for the purposes of establishing forces training parameters and guidelines with their UAE counterparts, while accompanying administration officials are to deal with various aspects of the DP World contract to manage Berbera port and subsequent establishment of an Emirati military base in the Somaliland coastal town.
In an interview he gave a number of international media houses in Dubai, coming in the heels of alleged nullification of the DP world contract by Somalia Federal authorities, President Behi not only revealed the irrevocability of the $420m and 30 years Berbera port development but negated the authority of Somalia in issues internal to Somaliland.
“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will train Somaliland security forces as part of a deal to establish a military in Berbera” Said president Behi adding that UAE would train police and military in Somaliland, in a deal expected to be finalised within two months.
Stressing that the Emiratis have the resources and the knowledge , the President of Somaliland also said that 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.
Rubbishing objections from 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 neighbouring Djibouti. “It’s safer to have a lot of military in the area,” the president said.
On the issue of the DP World Berbera port contract the head of state who said that “The biggest threat to Somaliland is poverty,” was also hopeful that 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.
According to the original deal announced on March 1, Ethiopia will become a 19 per cent shareholder in the Port of Berbera, with DP World controlling 51 per cent stake in the project. Somaliland will hold the remaining 30 per cent. The government of landlocked Ethiopia will also invest in infrastructure to develop the Berbera Corridor as a trade gateway to the port, according to the agreement.
Last week, the Somali Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport said Mogadishu was not a party to the agreement which it termed as defective. “This so-called agreement is both defective and detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the unity of the country,” the Ministry said.
The President of Somaliland on Friday dismissed Somalia’s move banning the UAE ports operator DP World from developing Berbera Port, saying Mogadishu has no jurisdiction over the matter.
“Somaliland is an independent sovereign country with a long democratic tradition. We will not allow any outside forces to interfere in our internal issues,” President Muse Behi Abdi said in Dubai.
Abdi, who was accompanied by five ministers, told the media that there is “no authority other than the elected representatives of the country to decide on its internal affairs.
He said the agreement signed between the UAE ports operator DP World and the Ethiopian Government to acquire a 19 per cent stake in Berbera Port is lawful and binding. “As a sovereign and independent state, Somaliland has right to enter agreements, and does not allow others to meddle with its rights.”
Asked what would happen in a worst-case scenario of Somalia sticking with its position of denouncing the port deal, terming the tri-party agreement unconstitutional, null, and void, Abdi said “nothing will happen.” The project will go as planned and will be completed within two years, he added.
The Parliament of Somaliland approved the partnership with DP World in 2016, paving the way for the UAE’s port operator to invest $442 million to rebuild the Port of Berbera and manage it through a 30-year concession. Recently, both countries agreed to give 19 per cent stake in the project to Ethiopia.
The president said the present agreement is nothing new. “It is an extension of the agreement entered into between the Republic of Somaliland and DP World and approved by the parliament.”