Somalia parliament rejects Somaliland’s Berbera port deal with DP World, Ethiopia

Somalia’s lower house of parliament on Monday backed the federal government’s rejection of the Berbera port deal entered into by semi-autonomous Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP World.

A Voice of America journalist, Harun Maruf, reported that the lower house had voted to reject the deal through a landslide with 168 of the 170 lawmakers nullifying all agreements between the United Arab Emirates-based company and Somaliland.

DP World have reached agreements with Somaliland over the Berbera and Bosaso ports but with the Monday vote – both deals are “null and void.” If the Upper House reaches a similar decision the President will sign it into law.

Already President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo and PM Ali Hassan Khayre have stated clearly that the manner in which the deals were reached breached international standards and violates the sovereignty of Somalia.

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This is despite Somaliland insisting that it has a right to enter such deals. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi is on record to have described Somalia’s rejection of the deal as a ‘declaration of war’.

Somaliland is internationally recognised as a semi-autonomous state of Somalia. Bihi insists that the state has the freedom to approve this deal that will improve the lives of its people.

The DP World chief executive officer, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem agrees with Somaliland’s position on the issue stressing that his comapny entered a deal with an “independent” country whose parliament approved the said deal.

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Somalia has appealed to the Arab League to intervene in this dispute that risks souring relations with the United Arab Emirates.

Brief about Somaliland

Somaliland located in the north of Somalia declared unilateral independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991. It has been under pressure to hold talks with Somalia which have so far been futile.

The region can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system. The territory has been experiencing stability and economic prosperity and has been influential in the fight against piracy and terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

26 years of diplomatic isolation has made it difficult for Somaliland to have access to loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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