SOMANIA (OBSERVATORY) – The Somali Foreign Minister has called on UAE port operator DP World to revisit its policy regarding its agreements with the self-proclaimed Somaliland Republic. He invited this subsidiary of Dubai World to increase its interactions with officials of the Somali government.
“We call on DP World to reconsider the agreements signed with Somaliland, and more specifically with the authorities of the port of Berbera, and to further cooperate with the Government of the Republic of Somalia so as to prevent any violation of Somalia’s sovereignty, because Somaliland claims to be an independent state of Somalia,” Ahmed Isse Awad told Reuters on Friday.
According to Awad, the agreement signed with DP World to develop an economic zone and a port in the city of Berbera in Somaliland “circumvented the legitimate authority” of Somalia, triggering “a misunderstanding and disagreement” that remained unresolved.
DP World, the third Dubai-based global port operator, announced in 2016 that it will invest more than $ 400 million to develop the port of Berbera. The agreement also included the Ethiopian government, which took a 19% stake in the port.
Abu Dhabi decided in March to train security forces in Somaliland, a region of northern Somalia that proclaimed its independence from the rest of the country.
Mogadishu rejected the agreement and called on the United Nations to act.
“The Federal Government of Somalia strongly condemns these flagrant violations and reiterates that it will take the necessary measures arising from its primary responsibility to uphold the inviolability of the sovereignty and unity of Somalia,” said Abubakr Osman, ambassador of Somalia to the United Nations.
Relations between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi have been cold since last June after Mogadishu resisted pressure from the UAE and Saudi Arabia to break ties with Qatar following a dispute between neighbors in the Persian Gulf .
Somalia has stated that it is neutral in the diplomatic split of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (CCGP).
The UAE suspended operations at a hospital in the Somali capital last week as tensions mounted.
In retaliation, the UAE closed the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Mogadishu, which provided free treatment, mainly to poor and displaced people.