PM: Ethiopia to launch joint infrastructure projects with Somaliland

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Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn shakes hand with Muse Bihi, the leader of Somaliland's Kulmiye Party in Addis Ababa, 10, Feb, 2017. Photo courtesy/ENA

Ethiopia is one of several countries that maintain informal diplomatic relations with Somaliland considered by Somalia as parts of its territory. However, Somaliland has repeatedly dismissed the assertion, maintaining its status of being an independent state.

By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that his government will launch different infrastructure development projects with the Somaliland administration, a breakaway region in northern Somalia.

Ethiopia is one of several countries that maintain informal diplomatic relations with Somaliland considered by Somalia as parts of its territory. However, Somaliland has repeatedly dismissed the assertion, maintaining its status of being an independent state.

Mr. Desalegn made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation from Somaliland led by Muse Behi Abdi, a presidential nominee as well as the chairman of Somaliland’s Kulmiye Party.

During the meeting which focused on ways of enhancing infrastructure development, particularly roads, the two men emphasized the significant of the project which primarily aims to enable Ethiopia to use the Port of Berbera in Somaliland.

Speaking to the reporters, the prime minister said that Ethiopia would work with the Somaliland administration to realize mutual benefit by enhancing infrastructure integration, Minister of Transport Ahmed Shide told ENA.

According to Shide, the two sides have agreed to work together on sustainqbl3 peace and security as well as reducing drought vulnerability in the region, with the two leaders also agreed to cooperate on the energy sector, he added.

After the discussion, Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Saad Ali Shire told reporters that Ethiopia and Somaliland will continue to work together not only for mutual benefit but also for the stability of the region.

He said that they have agreed to develop the Port of Berbera, which he said would enable them enhance their ties as parts of efforts to boost economic ties between the two sides.

UAE’s DP World, an international ports management company had recently signed a 30-year contract with Somaliland to manage its largest port, Berbera.

Furthermore, the two sides have exchanged views on enhancing economic cooperation, such as boosting trade ties, he added.

The former British protectorate has been battling for an international recognition since it broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, however no country has so far recognize it as an independent state.

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