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UAE ‘committed’ to Somalia’s stability

July 19, 2018 at 2:43 pm

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to the European Union, Abushahab (FL) [Tiwitter]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to the European Union and Luxembourg reiterated his commitment to unity, security and stability, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported today. The positive vibes comes after recent tensions over a tripartite port deal involving Ethiopia, Eritrea and the UAE’s port company DP World.

”Over the recent years, the UAE has always been at the forefront of international efforts to support Somalia and restore peace and stability to its people. Towards this end, the UAE has provided humanitarian and developmental assistance, security training as well as financial and logistic support for its armed forces. We also supported efforts to combat maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia and contributed funds to regional development projects,” said the UAE ambassador, addressing a diplomatic conference in Brussels for the Somalia Partnership Forum (SPF).

”The UAE is closely monitoring the encouraging progress made in discussions between the Federal Government of Somalia and the international financial institutions. We urge regional and global actors as well as the central government to distance themselves from strategies that seek to sow seeds of division and rivalry,” he added.

The conference in Brussels was jointly set-up by Somalia and Sweden. Representative from 58 countries attended, and six international organisations between 16 and 17 July.

Read: EU slams UAE, Saudi for ‘destabilising’ Somalia

Pre-existing tensions

The federal government of Somalia rejected the UAE’s logistic company’s port deal, claiming that it undermines its unity, sovereignty and is a violation of its constitution. Somalia called out the tripartite agreements over Berbera port as “null and void”.

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Ethiopia holds 19 per cent of the Berbera port, in an agreement with Somaliland’s Port Authority and UAE Company DP World. DP World remains the major share owner with a 51 per cent stake, while Somaliland holds 30 per cent. The Ethiopian government will invest in infrastructural development for the Berbera port. Somalia claims that they were not consulted, and directly undermined their constitution.

The UAE assisted with drafting the Joint Communique on international partnership to strengthen Somalia, which read: ”We recognise that the meeting takes place in a context of recent positive and historic developments in the Horn of Africa and enhanced engagement between the leaders of the region, creating new opportunities for reconciliation, stability, regional cooperation and economic integration. This new momentum should be seized by all Somali actors and we call for all in the international community to cooperate towards that end.”

Whether relations between Somalia and the UAE will pragmatically restore themselves is yet to be seen.