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Somalia bans UAE’s DP World from operating in country over controversial port deal  

The move to ban DP World which has dealt a major blow to the deal follows subsequent warnings by Somali leaders over UAE’s political meddling in internal affairs of the impoverished horn of Africa

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Somalia’s parliament voted on Monday to ban the United Arab Emirates’ global ports operator, DP World from operating in the country, following a tripartite agreement over a port in the breakaway northern Somalia enclave of Somaliland last week which was dismissed by Somali government as ‘null and void’, claiming that it undermines its unity, sovereignty and is a violation of its constitution.

In the new agreement which was signed in Dubai last week, Ethiopia holds 19 per cent of the Berbera port, in an agreement with Somaliland’s Port Authority and the UAE Company DP World. DP World remains the major share owner; with a 51 per cent stake, while Somaliland holds 30 per cent. The Ethiopian government will invest in infrastructural development for the Berbera port.

Somalia considers Somaliland as parts of greater Somalia, a suggestion repeatedly dismissed by Somaliland which despite lacking an international recognition maintains its status of being an independent state.

Somali lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to ban the company’s overall operations in Somalia’s territory

In a further diplomatic showdown, Somali lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to ban the company’s overall operations in Somalia’s territory, authorizing the country’s prime minister to deliver their decision to the UAE government.

The move to ban DP World which has dealt a major blow to the deal follows subsequent warnings by Somali leaders over UAE’s political meddling in internal affairs of the impoverished horn of Africa, with the country’s leader Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Saturday warned that the rich Gulf state against violations of his country’s sovereignty.

No comment could be reached from DP World on the development.

However, the United Arab Emirates which is currently locked in a relentless economic battle with Turkey, a long-time strategic rival and a major ally of Somali government has since escalated its political expedition, reflecting the twists and turns of its new revised Somalia policy.

The development which has seen Somali government moving closer to UAE’s archrival neighboring state of Qatar and Turkey has marked yet another escalation of tension in Somalia and UAE’s inimical relationship, further threatening to sink relations to the bottom.

Somalia’s government has repeatedly opposed the legitimacy of the 30-years contract which will see the UAE firm investing $442 million to rebuild Berbera port in Somaliland.

However, DP World’s chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem has angrily reacted to the Somali government’s statement, dismissing it as an ’empty talk’, referring Somaliland as an independent state.

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