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DJIBOUTI LATEST NEWS SOMALIA

UAE seeks to open military base in Somaliland

UAE continues to pursue a coordinated soft-power strategy throughout its sphere of influence, using political, economic, and military tools to promote its agenda in Somaliland at the expense of neighboring countries

By Judy Maina and Jamal Ibrahim, jamal@alleastafrica.com

HARGEISA – The United Arab Emirates is seeking a formal permission from the government of the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland to establish a military base in the region, reflecting its growing ambition to assert itself in the horn of Africa region.

Having failed to win over Turkey, a long time strategic rival in Somalia, the UAE government had long sought an alternative base, picking Somaliland as its key base.  UAE had also signed a 30-year contract with Somaliland to manage its largest port, Berbera.

Berbera port
Berbera port

Berbera’s management by UAE is also parts of retaliatory measures against Djibouti which annulled the Dubai-based ports operator DP World’s terminal contract followed by arbitration proceedings by the Djiboutian government over alleged corruption by the company.

“It’s true that the UAE has submitted a formal request seeking for a permission to open a military base in Somaliland.” said Sa’ad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s foreign minister told reporters in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital Wednesday.

The move would likely enrage Ethiopia, a major ally for Somaliland which is the only country that opened an embassy in Somaliland. Other countries that have relations with Somaliland have merely maintained consular missions in the enclave.

Ethiopia also assists Somaliland in maintaining security in Somaliland, a region often considering an oasis of peace in the volatile region.

“We don’t want to lose relations with both our partners Ethiopia and UAE, thus this is a worrying development and the issue of granting permission for the military base will be decided by both the president and the parliament.” He said.

Meanwhile, economists warned that Somaliland’s close relations with UAE would hurt its relations with neighboring countries including Ethiopia and Djibouti that maintained warm relations with the breakaway republic before it moved to establish economic relations with the United Arab Emirates.

According to officials, Djibouti’s government has repeatedly warned Somaliland leaders over their decisions to embrace UAE as a closer ally, by allowing UAE to maximize its strategic interests in the untapped horn of Africa market.

(Judy Maina reported from Nairobi, editing by John Thiongo: john@alleastafrica.com)

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5 comments

Faith and money from the Middle East fuelling tensions in the Horn of Africa – Erimedrek Feb 10, 2017 at 5:17 am

[…] Since then the United Arab Emirates has announced its intention to increase its military presence in the Horn. In January it signed an agreement to manage the Somaliland port of Berbera for 30 years. It also sought permission to have a naval base, Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told reporters. […]

Surrounded on all sides, is Ethiopian Influence in the Horn of Africa on its Deathbed? | News 24 Africa Feb 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[…] Since then the United Arab Emirates has announced its intention to increase its military presence in the Horn. In January it signed an agreement to manage the Somaliland port of Berbera for 30 years. It also sought permission to have a naval base, Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told reporters. […]

SOMALILAND: Faith and Money from the Middle East Fuelling Tensions in the Horn of Africa | Somaliland Monitor Feb 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm

[…] Since then the United Arab Emirates has announced its intention to increase its military presence in the Horn. In January it signed an agreement to manage the Somaliland port of Berbera for 30 years. It also sought permission to have a naval base, Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told reporters. […]

Mr. Yousuf Godir Feb 12, 2017 at 11:07 am

As a patriotic Somalilander, I see that the UAE military base in Berbera is mistaken, as well as the previous DP World port engagement. Only such agreements can take place for rewarding one of these points:
1. Sovereignty recognition
2. Or a rent of $1.5 billion per year

- Ethiopian Chronicle : ዜና መዋእል ኢትዮጵያ Feb 26, 2017 at 5:02 am

[…] Since then the United Arab Emirates has announced its intention to increase its military presence in the Horn. In January it signed an agreement to manage the Somaliland port of Berbera for 30 years. It also sought permission to have a naval base, Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told reporters. […]

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