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Somaliland agrees to UAE naval base in northern port

Somaliland agrees to UAE naval base in northern port

MOGADISHU: Somaliland, the breakaway northern region of Somalia, on Sunday approved the establishment of a UAE naval base on the coast of the Gulf of Aden. The UAE submitted a formal application last month for permission from the Somaliland government to open the base in the port of Berbera, about 250 kilometres south across the Gulf from Aden in Yemen.

Somaliland parliament’s voted overwhelmingly in favour of the base, which president Ahmed Silanyo said would benefit the territory and help create jobs. However, the plan has been opposed by the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti, according to local reports. In Sunday’s vote 144 legislators supported the military base, two voted against and two abstained. Nine others opposed to the base shouted against Mr Silanyo and were led out of the chamber by soldiers.

The plan for the military base follows a multimillion dollar, 30-year contract for the UAE ports operator DP World to manage Berbera port, Somaliland’s largest. The former British protectorate declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 and has succeeded in establishing peace and stability. But no country has so far recognised it as an independent state.