His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” received, today, a delegation led by the CEO of DP World of the United Arab Emirates, at his office.w1(89)The President, during the reception, assured the visiting delegation that the Republic of Somaliland and its people were more than prepared to honor their part of the agreement reached in the development of Somaliland’s primary seaport, Berbera, and other projects included in the deal.

“We welcome you with you a sincere mind and heart to your second homeland – Somaliland. We assure you we will most sincerely and most professionally fulfill our obligations towards the agreement we, together, reached,” the President said.

On his part, the head of the Delegation and DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, showed his delight and surprise on what he has witnessed since their arrival in the morning in Berbera, their tour of the port facilities, their reception at the Presidency and the warmth with which that had greeted them upon arrival and had been evident everywhere they looked, everyone they had contact with.

Sultan Ahmed was particularly taken by surprise by the vastness of what they have seen of Somaliland admitting that  they were little prepared for what Somaliland and Berbera port truly represented- strategically, economically and by way of trade potential for the region.

At the end of the reception at Palace, His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Somaliland, Saad Ali Shirreh and DP World CEO Ahmed Sultan spoke to the press.

Minister Saad summed up main features of the agreement pointing out salient milestones. He said the MOU signed with DP World was not only on the expansion, modernization and rehabilitation of existing features but also included the setting up of a Free Trade Zone, the completion of the Berbera Corridor tarmac road connecting Somaliland with Ethiopia and the rest of the continent, and cooperation on agriculture and other areas of huge mutual import to the two countries.

“The fine print of the agreement between the two sides is being developed by legal teams representing the two sides and is expected to be finalized by June or July this year,” he said.

The Minister also stated that they have received with the delegation the facilitation of travel to and fro the two countries in order to ease prevailing difficulties that prove a bottleneck to a true flow of trade between the Emirates and Somaliland.

The Minister revealed that the request was favorably received and that it will be tabled to UAE government upon the delegation’s return.

He also made clear that the agreement and the Project only concerned the Republic of Somaliland the UAE and, as hence, an MOU signed on the approval of the two heads of states.

The Minister underlined the project’s potential in job creation reiterating that the program aimed to create more job opportunities not subtracting them or laying the current work force – managerial or otherwise – an assertion later echoed by the Head of the DP Word delegation.

The head of the delegation, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, expressed his ‘pleasure and honor’ to be in the country and that he was already impressed by the vastness of the country and what he had witnessed since his delegation’s arrival.vlcsnap-2016-05-24-14h53m18s222

“DP World,” he said “made a historical agreement on behalf the United Arab Emirates when we signed an MOU between the government of the United Arab Emirates and the government of Somaliland during the President’s visit where both governments agreed to cooperate and use this operation to develop this port of Berbera into a port with a Free zone and a logistic park as a first step of many projects”.

Mr. Sultan pointed out that the location of Berbera port and its connectivity to Ethiopia were ideal and contributed to an increasing confidence they acquired of the deal they entered into during their firsthand visit to Somaliland.

Mr. Sultan said this first step will certainly step up more cooperation between the governments and the private sectors of the two governments and their respective peoples.

Mr. Sultan revealed that DP World was presently managing and/or partnered with 77 terminals in 40 countries and that the experience they gained was going to be replicated here.

Relations between the UAE and the Republic of Somaliland considerably thawed, and cooperation between the two countries heightened  since ‘Ambassador” Bashe Awil assumed office in Dubai.

The UAE delegation’s arrival in country, following the agreement only signed a fortnight ago, reassured all of Somaliland on the sincerity of intentions on both sides as it eliminated many other negative rumors bandied around by detractors to train an unsavory attention on a project that is largely welcomed with a sigh of relief and positive anticipation.

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