On Sunday, 19 March 2017, the Republic of Somaliland signed a historic agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which grants the latter the right to establish a military base in Berbera in exchange for a wide-ranging cooperation on economic, political, security and foreign relations between the two sides.
According to His Excellency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, the two sides agreed, at a macro level, on a protocol which specifies:
- The Somaliland government grants permission to the UAE forces to use the existing airport facilities in Berbera
- The UAE to build a new international airport in Berbera for civilian aviation and cargo use
- Construction of the 250-km Berbera-Wajaale asphalt road
- Projects covering education, power, energy and health
- The UAE opens its labor/employment market for Somaliland nationals
- The UAE government to encourage its business community on investment opportunities in Somaliland
- The Republic of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates cooperate on security issues
- The agreement between the Republic of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates provides new horizons for Somaliland relations with the international community
- The UAE to promptly and substantively ferry emergency relief for the drought-stricken people of Somaliland.
Minister Saad said all the issues raised in the agreement will come to fruition within 3 years of signature.
“The agreement we have reached with the UAE is based on the approval granted it by the joint houses of the Somaliland parliament on 12 February 2017”, he said.
The signing of this agreement elevates the Republic of Somaliland to an enviable, more prominent level with an international community that has been, thus far, sacrificing Somaliland’s exemplary achievements over the past 26 years for an ephemeral, weak specter of an administration seated in Somalia’s Mogadishu. Farmajo unsuccessfully tried to convince the Saudi Kingdom to stop the UAE establishing the base in Berbera. He was told, it was reported, to better put “his” house in order, instead.
The Somaliland delegation was led by His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland, Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail “Zeyli’i” and included, besides Dr. Saad, the Minister for Defense, Ahmed Haji Ali Adami, Minister for Aviation, Farhan Haibe, Minister for Public Works, Ali M Hassan “Marreehan”, Chairman and presidential candidate for UCID political Party, Faisal Ali Hussein, Minister of Technology, Ali Hamud Jibril, Vice Minister for the Presidency, Ahmed Hashi Abdi, and Somaliland Ambassador in the UAE, Pasha Awil.