This comes amid Somaliland citizens vehemently lambaste and castigate the UAE military base in Berbera backed by Somaliland government.
By Gulaid Dalha
Hargeisa – Somali Commentator – Until recently, Somaliland citizens have been worried about the negative impacts a military base for UAE in Berbera would have on Somaliland territory and the neibouring countries in general. Despite the vehement shunning of this proposal by the Somalilanders, the parliament endorsed it last week.
Earlier this week, Mr. Mahmoud Walaalye, Veteran SL journalist of Dawannewspaper had an exclusive interview with Brigadier General Berhe Tesfey, head of the Ethiopian mission based in Hargeisa, Somaliland begun by stating as follows: –
The relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia is based on people to people basis and the free movement of people and trade as well as safe guarding and securing the peace and security of the two countries which is priority number one for both countries must be enhanced and maintained all the time.
- Mr. Ambassador, how do view as Somaliland as a meaningful business partner but also as a strategic ally on regional peace and stability?
- Brigadier General Berhe Tesfey begun by reaffirming the commitment of the Federal government of Ethiopia in upholding the robust and historic friendship with Somaliland and the strength of this feeling with Somaliland should not be underestimated”, he added.
“The federal government of Ethiopia every year provides more than 250 scholarships to Somaliland born students to enhance people to people relation as well as to build Somaliland human resources capacity and also gives Military training for more than 70 cadets each year and our consulate issues not less than 800 visa monthly, to Somaliland citizens wishing to travel to Ethiopia and beyond. In fact, not only these the Ethiopian airlines are the only international carriers which twice fly to Hargeisa, even sometimes it travels without any profit due to absence of passengers.
- About Ethiopia’s engagement to Berbera Port?
His Emissary “responded by saying, “It’s important to note the two governments have on various occasions agreed upon consolidating economic cooperation on Berbera corridor development and utilization. With an emphasis on the mutual desire to ensure maximum utilization of economic opportunities, the discussion has produced tangible exchanges of views on expanding the Berbera Corridor and interconnectivity of the two sides.
“Berbera will contribute to our continued growth in the developing markets of Africa in the years ahead. It is also a breakthrough in developing access to the sea for Ethiopia, the region’s largest economy, use as an alternative port.
Brigadier General Berhe Tesfey further added, “The port of Berbera offer East African importers and exporters a unique, additional world class deep-water port that will dramatically improve competitiveness of their products in the world markets and has the potential to transform the region’s economy.”
- Does the proposed UAE military base pose any danger to you and will you close your office here in Hargeisa?
The envoy replied by stating “No doesn’t pose any clear and present danger to us ,the matter of the proposed UAE military base solely lies with the government of Somaliland and does not in any way whatsoever concern us, our policy does not allow us to interfere with other countries internal affairs.
Brigadier General Berhe Tesfey further stated, “Those spreading such negative rumors are the enemies of Ethiopia and Somaliland.
The Ethiopian embassy in Hargeisa here to stay and shall continue to provide the usual service without any hindrance whatsoever, those spreading unfounded rumors are sworn enemies of both countries. We shall continue to work together to foil and expose those threatening the security of both nations.
Both nations are committed to enhance existing cooperation on matters regarding economic, security and Border. Somaliland and Ethiopian cordial relations must persist and live longer forever, for the interest of both countries, for the horn of Africa to heel and for the region to prosper.
The Envoy underlined his government’s readiness and commitment to work jointly with Somaliland on issues of mutual benefit and, also for greater regional benefit.