The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is going ahead with setting up a port in Somaliland in spite of the ongoing dispute over the deal between Somalia and the breakaway state, Garowe Online reported today.
The UAE port operator DP World is building a controversial $422 million regeneration project in Somaliland which was agreed in a tripartite contract with Ethiopia.
In a move to disrupt the UAE's port project, 168 lawmakers passed a law in a bid to outlaw the deal which is to planned at the Port of Berbera. Today, the law was approved by Somalia's Upper House of Parliament, banning DP World from Somalia.
Last week Somalia had disputed that the deal was "null and void" on the grounds that Somalia had not given consent on the deal. The federal government of Somalia claims that it undermines its sovereignty and constitution. But Somaliland is willing to go forward with the deal.
The latest rift between UAE's DP World and Somalia may impact broader political stances.
Somalia's Upper House of Parliament votes to approve legislation banning DP World from Somalia. 28 Senators voted YES; 6 voted NO; 2 abstained. Bill was already passed by the Lower House with overwhelming YES. Measure now goes to the president for signature: Senate sources
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) March 15, 2018
Earlier this week, Somalia complained to the Arab League over the controversial deal, and Saudi Arabia as a member has since stepped forward to offer mediation.
DP World's Berbera port project would create a free zone which would be a "gateway for trade to the region and the whole of Africa", Dr Saad Al Shire, republic of Somaliland minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said.
The deal would "generate jobs" and "encourage small and medium-sized companies in the area to locate their operations in an environment conducive to trade", Al Shire continued.
The Berbera port project is modelled on the UAE's Jebel Ali Free Zone.