Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Somaliland Deal with UAE "Corrupt, Illegal" - Voice of America

February 14, 2017 6:25 PM

FILE - President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo stands to salute troops during a street parade to celebrate independence day for the breakaway Somaliland nation from Somalia in the capital, Hargeysa, May 18, 2015.
FILE - President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo stands to salute troops during a street parade to celebrate independence day for the breakaway Somaliland nation from Somalia in the capital, Hargeysa, May 18, 2015.

Officials in Somalia and breakaway Somaliland took bribes in exchange for authorizing a United Arab Emirates military base in the port city of Berbera, according to Somalia's auditor general.
Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah is one of several observers questioning the propriety of the UAE base deal, which Somaliland's parliament overwhelmingly approved Sunday.
In an interview with VOA's Somali service, Jimale accused senior officials in Somaliland and the government of Somalia's former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of backing the deal for the sake of “illegitimate private gains.”
He also questioned Somaliland's right to reach an agreement with the UAE. Somaliland considers itself independent from Somalia, but is not recognized by any country.
“The deal has none of the legal provisions needed and did not go through Somalia's legitimate public procurement, financial institutions and the parliament. Therefore, it is corrupted and illegal,” Jimale said.
“We know that individuals within the leadership of Somalia and Somaliland were invited to Dubai and that they were corrupted with bags full of cash to sign the agreement,” he added.
Deal looked 'very secretive'
Jimale would not specify the individuals allegedly involved in the deal, and VOA could not independently verify the allegations.
Somaliland's representative to the UAE, Bashe Awil Omer, denied the bribery accusation. “It is baseless and we categorically deny it,” he told VOA. “If they have an evidence for such allegation, they should show to the public.”
Speaking to VOA on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on this issue, a senior official in Somalia's foreign ministry refused to deny or confirm the corruption allegations, but said neither the ministry nor the Somali cabinet was given a chance to discuss the UAE deal.
“We heard about the deal, which looked very secretive,” the official said. “It was not brought before the cabinet and the foreign ministry office. When we asked about it, we were told that the president and the prime minister's offices were dealing with it.”
Somali's former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is escorted as he leaves a meeting in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2017.

Somali's former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is escorted as he leaves a meeting in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2017.
Abdiwahab Abdisamad, an independent Nairobi-based Horn of Africa analyst, said he also heard the agreement got a secret green light from the outgoing Mohamud administration.
“As the reliable sources we are getting from the ground indicate, before Somaliland, authorities within the administration of the former head of state Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed the agreement and Somaliland put it into vote at its parliament, only to send a message that it is a Somaliland project rather than a Somalia project,” Abdisamad said.
Somaliland's Wadani and OCID opposition parties have described the agreement as illegal and unconstitutional.
A ship is docked at the Berbera port in Somalia, May 17, 2015.

A ship is docked at the Berbera port in Somalia, May 17, 2015.
Strategic importance of base
The agreement calls for the UAE to operate a base in Berbera for 25 years. Previously, Somaliland signed a deal with a UAE international port operator DP World. That deal would upgrade the port of Berbera, the largest in Somaliland.
Being part of a coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, the UAE already has a military facility at Eritrea's Assab port for use. The Berbera base, which is only 90 kilometers from the shores of Yemen, will help it tighten the coalition blockade on the rebels.
Somali analysts say the base will be less of a headache for the UAE than the one in Eritrea, which is under United Nations sanctions.
Speaking at the parliament session, Somaliland's President Ahmed Silanyo said that the military base would benefit Somaliland and help create jobs.
In an interview with VOA on Monday, Somaliland Aviation Minister Farhan Adan Haybe said the deal has gone through all the Somaliland legal channels and therefore would be valid.
“The base is on a lease. It can't be used by any other nation except the UAE, and can't be subleased.” Haybe told VOA.
However, Jimale called on the UAE to back out of the deal, saying it violated Somalia's national and territorial integrity.
“UAE has already violated our national sovereignty and airspace because of its plans to come to Somaliland without paying air space tax and without the permission of Somalia's legitimate government,” Jimale said. “We ask UAE to respect the international code of conduct.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UAE to open second military base in east Africa | Middle East Eye

UAE to open second military base in east Africa

Somaliland would be the second military base after the UAE facility in Eritrea, which has been used against the Houthis in Yemen
Ships being loaded in the port of Berbera, Somaliland in December 2015 (AFP)
Shazar Shafqat's picture
Last update: 
Monday 13 February 2017 16:15 UTC
The United Arab Emirates is going to set up a second military base in the Horn of Africa, sparking concern among some governments in the region.
The Somaliland parliament approved the deal for the northern port of Berbera on Sunday, with 144 lawmakers voting for, two against and two abstentions.
Under the 30-year deal, the Emirati government will have exclusive rights to Somaliland’s largest port and manage and oversee operational activities.
DP World, the UAE’s ports operator company, will supervise the port, which will gain a naval base as well as an air base. The lease of the port is contingent on the $442 million deal with DP World.
In return, Somaliland will get investment as well as international recognition: no other country has yet recognised the breakaway territory – which separated itself from the rest of Somalia in 1993 - as an "independent state".
The Emirati port operator will manage the operational activities, but there's no official word on the time it will take for the military base to become fully operational.
UAE’s military is considered a formidable force in Africa, particularly after the establishment of its military base at Assab in Eritrea in 2015.
The Eritrean base has been used by the UAE in the Yemen war against the Houthis. It is not known whether the facility at Berbera will have a similar purpose.
Osman Abdillahi, minister of information and national guidance, told Somaliland Press, the country’s official news agency, that the “UAE military base will bring investment which will open the flood gates for countries to recognise Somaliland.”
Abu Dhabi is reaching out to countries in and around the Horn of Africa, as it looks to increase its non-oil revenue through other avenues including real estate, trade and financial services.
Abdillahi said: “The Berbera to Wajale highway will cost about $230-300 million, not forgetting the creations of thousands of jobs for our people, which will alleviate the endemic joblessness that has incapacitated our people.”
It is significant because the UAE will be engaging in trade across the port, and for this, it would require a sustainable road network across Berbera. Hence, as the minister said, it will create opportunities for the local people on infrastructure development.

Tension with Ethiopia

But the Somaliland deal has angered Ethiopia, one of the regional powers in the Horn of Africa, which itself has economic ties with the UAE.
As recently as last year, the UAE and Ethiopia signed several investment deals, under the terms of which the UAE is legally bound to protect the economic interests of Ethiopia.
Last January, Ethiopia's prime minister rebuked the UAE government for having established the base in Eritrea.
Hailemariam Desalegn said: “We have also stressed that they will bear the consequences of our response if their operation in the area supports the Eritrean regime’s destabilisation agenda against Ethiopia."
There is still tension between the two east African nations after they fought a war from May 1998 to June 2000.

About Me

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.