Somaliland FM Says UAE Military Base Agreement Not Rescinded

The Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, stated the planned United Arab Emirates (UAE) military base in Berbera of the Republic of Somaliland is on course.

“The agreement to build a base in Berbera has been approved by the parliament and signed by the President of the Republic of Somaliland. It stands,” he said.

“There are obligations each side has to fulfill as charted in the agreement. There are technical glitches which need to be ironed out such as the delivery, discussion and approval of the Berbera-Wajale corridor road and the civilian airport to replace the existing one taken over by the base which the UAE has to attend to. These are starting points that must be taken out of the way first,” Minister added.

The minister made it clear, however, that neither he nor any other member of the Somaliland government has officially communicated with the UAE laying these or any other as preconditions to a consummation of all or parts of clauses in the agreement.

“We regularly communicate on the progress of activities stipulated in agreement but I had never written on or intimated any preconditions stalling or halting the ongoing operation,” Minister Saad said.

The agreement to build a military and naval base in Berbera granted to the UAE was approved on a resounding majority vote by a joint session of the Somaliland bicameral parliament on 12 February 2017.

The minister’s statement comes at a time detractors of the military base had gone wild on both social and conventional media claiming that the new government of president Musa Behi which came into power on 14 December had reneged on the agreement the outgoing government had entered into with the United Arab Emirates.

The Federal Government of Somalia which harbors ill-conceived, non-existent sovereignty over Somaliland affairs and its allies of Turkey and Qatar had left no stone unturned to unhinge the solidity of the agreement in which they see as a possible gateway to a full-fledged international recognition for the successful model government of Somaliland.

A video claiming that Houthis of Yemen had a gunned a disturbing threat to shell the port of Berbera if the government went ahead with the planned UAE military base has since been discovered as a hoax concocted by neighboring ‘governments’.