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Somalia slams Ethiopia-DP World-Somaliland deal on Berbera Port

Somalia slams Ethiopia-DP World-Somaliland deal on Berbera Port

The Somali government blasted the tripartite agreement between Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP world to manage Berbera Port, calling the deal illegal and declaring it “null and void”

The agreement signed on Thursday gave DP World a 51% stake in the port and Ethiopia would acquire 19%. Somaliland Port Authority will retain 30%.

DP World originally took a 65 percent share in the port in 2016 as part of a joint venture with the government of Somaliland under a 30-year concession. 

In a statement dated March 2nd, Somalia’s Ministry for Ports and Marine Transport challenged the legality of the deal saying the agreement is a threat to the unity and sovereignty of Somalia.

“The so-called agreement is both defective and detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia. The ministry, therefore, considering the above declares this deal as non-existent null and void”  the Ministry said.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire reiterated the government’s position on his Twitter account on Friday morning.

“As National leaders we do not take the responsibility of protecting Somalia’s unity, sovereignty and independence lightly. The FGS is committed and determined to protecting [sic] this responsibility in accordance with our constitution.”

The three-way-deal was signed while Somali PM Hassan Ali Khaire was on a state visit to the UAE. It is unclear if he voiced his concerns with the Emirati’s.

The Prime Minister’s sentiment came barely a day after Ethiopia’s Transport minister, Ahmed Shiden announced that the land-locked country secured 19% stake in the Berbera port in northern Somalia.

This media release has been sent to us by a number of government officials. COURTESY

“After a year of serious negotiations, Ethiopia has concluded an agreement with Somaliland ports authority and DP World that give the government of Ethiopia 19% stake in the joint venture developing the port,” Shiden told reporters on Thursday.

Khaire added that foreign investment in Somalia is welcome, but the responsibility to sign such agreements falls to the Federal Government of Somalia.

As of late, Dubai-based DP World has been embroiled in a number of issues in the Horn of Africa region. Just over a week ago, the Djibouti government seized control of a container terminal run by DP World and nationalized the Doraleh Container Terminal. The move effectively terminated DP World’s 30-year concession to operate the port in 2006.

The government of Somaliland has not yet publicly commented on the position taken by the Federal Government of Somalia

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