His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, has on Saturday flown out to the United Arab Emirates to officially follow up on agreed protocols with his counterparts in the Gulf state.

“Axial to the President’s official visit to the United Emirates is the further fusion of the vast historical and trade relations between the two countries who are, also, collaborating on a number of developmental programmes at this juncture of time,” Mohamoud Warsame Jama, the Presidency Spokesman told the media.

A number of developmental programs have been dumped under the umbrella deals of relating to port and free zone, on the one hand, and the military and naval base under construction, on the other, that had not been significantly developed by the former government before its term ended and the new government came aborad in late 2017.

The President had broken ground on a 245 dual carriageway which will connect the Red Sea port to inland Ethiopia only a little above a week before that was part of the deal reached with the UAE on the grant of the base.

There are many, especially the opposition, who had said that was not enough. What else would Somaliland get from a base which may, also, bring with it a considerable risk diverting part of – if not all – the Gulf rivalries and tug-of-war with Qatar and Turkey to Somaliland shores.

DP World has, of recent, started bringing in few pieces of equipment which in no way fill the expectations that the Somaliland public had of an accelerated, internationally developed port as promised. DP World has been running the port for nearly two full years and has, in fact, little to show for its investment, only spending a fraction of what it got out of it during that time back on the port.

Somaliland leaders had been criticized for poor bargaining in return for what they had given out, especially in the light of Qatar and Turkey equipping, training, financing a military build up in Somalia that potentially poses an undeniable threat to Somaliland and its re-affirmed independence as well as its geo-strategic place in the region.

The President’s stay in the UAE will definitely on all of above – and some, according to sources close to the Palace. The fast-paced political transformations in the Horn and how they may impact on the Somaliland-UAE relations may also be addressed during the visit

The Somaliland ministers of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jama Haji Mohamoud, Trade and Tourism, Mohamoud Hassan Saeed ‘Sa’id’, and Religious Affairs and Endowments, Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed, are of the president’s delegation.

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