youshouldtravel SBI
Published On: Tue, Mar 6th, 2018

Somaliland: What Berbera Port Agreement Means for the Federal Government of Somalia

Share This

The signing of the tripartite agreement on Berbera Port made to coincide with the visit of the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia  in UAE presents the Mogadishu-based government with the second sovereignty-diminishing problem. The first occurred several months after the inauguration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo  in February in  2017, when a Somali national was extradited to Ethiopia for allegedly being a member of ONLF. The Berbera Port Agreement will reduce the image of the Federal Government of Somalia as a key negotiator with Somaliland Government on the possibility  of giving union a second chance or opting for amicable break up of Somalia into two sovereign states in the Northeast Africa. Controversial though the Port deal is the onus to prevent it  from turning into a divisive issue among Somalis and Somalia’s international partners is, one hand,  on Somali political leaders  in Hargeisa and Mogadishu , and the International Community on the other.

If, as Somaliland argues, the agreement was concluded between the Somaliland government and the former Federal Government under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the federal government should share with the public the documentation on the agreement. The bone of contention in Berbera Port agreement pertains not to allowing Somaliland to sign an agreement with the DP World; it revolves around the share a foreign country, Ethiopia in this case, will have in the deal. The Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan  Khayre, stated that the Berbera Port agreement  was in violation of the Draft Constitution of Somalia. It is understandable that an agreement signed by a predecessor government will be hard to rescind; it will put in the public sphere the capability and reliability of the federal government up for discussion.  Somalilanders counter the federal government’s statement with a response that emphasises inability of the government to operate without reliance on AMISOM.  If  sovereignty  of Somalia does not entitle a national government to the right to challenge external actions  affecting territorial or political  unity of Somalia, the double standard that is undermining the post-World War II Order will inescapably   come to the fore.

DP World, which is based in UAE, a county that contributes to the development of Somali security forces and the national army  and where DP World is based , and Ethiopia whose troops are part of AMISOM,  have now in their hands the powers to undo what  the British Government has done to help Somalis to phase out the Transitional Federal Government and pave the way for a permanent federal government whose performance has lifted Somalia out of the failed  state status and placed in a fragile state status.  Interdependence among African countries is a worthy goal but it should not be realised at the expense of budding political institutions  for a country recovering from  a prolonged civil war and statelessness.

The Federal Government of Somalia and Somaliland Government should explore ways to discuss the legality of the agreement. If there is no clarity on how  the Federal Government of Somalia will share  revenues to be generated from the Berbera Port deal,  Somaliland will face accusations that it is operating outside international norms.  If, as Somaliland government argues, the former federal government leaders   gave the greenlight  to  sign the tripartite agreement, it should not push the federal government  into corner by  making it look like powerless to challenge the Berbera Port agreement.  There is short term damage to Somali Federal Government institutions if the incumbent government is not able to put the implementation of the agreement on hold; the longer term damage will affect Somaliland’s quest for statehood. It will have acted like a sovereign state when the question of union or secession remains unsettled. That is not a road to take to become a new sovereign state in Africa.

Liban Ahmad

About the Author


Displaying 2 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Adam says:

    It means:

    A) FGS has no defined territory which it controls

    B) FGS has no permanent population that acknowledge its legitimacy or control

    C) It has no ability or capacity to enter into international agreements as it has no capacity to fulfill or uphold them due to the fact that it controls no where but the presidential palace.

    It talks about its constitution as though it has define merit when it is temporary and lacks legitimacy within even those who claim to be part of it and it has never been voted for by the public.

    Who are we kidding to pretend that Somaliland which has control over her defined territory, has the ability to enforce agreements, has a constitution voted for in a referendum by her people and has a permanent population that acknowledge the legitimacy of the state and its government has no right to exploit her resources in anyway she sees fit? Somalia’s objection is no more than a man who owns nothing but wishes the world to stop for him.

    For the past 28 years, they have been circulating the same statements, uttering the same words and predicting the downfall of Somaliland. In that time, Somaliland has gone from strength to strength by building her democratic institutions, security forces, economic sectors and education. It has also secured her entire territory that you not label anywhere in Somaliland as “disputed” today. It continues to fulfill the aspirations of her people and any court of international standing cannot deny the right of Somaliland people to build their country and contribute to the well-being of the corner of the world they live in.

    As for Khayre, his objection was no more than a man who feared for his job due to the fact that this agreement was signed while he was visiting Emirates. I’m sure he knows there is nothing Somalia can do about it and no sane court would agree with their objections.

  2. kevin says:

    Somaliland gave the Turkish Government a chance to be fair and neutral but partiality toward Somalia forced Somaliland to look elsewhere. Besides, you cannot be fair or neutral if your country has similar issues and the Turkish Government has the same issues with the Kurdish people. Good job, Mr. President, Switzerland is a good choice because of its neutral policy. It too bad if Ankara gets angry or not. It is not a matter of spite, but a matter of Somaliland”s self-determination and officially getting back on the world stage once again as a Sovereign Nation and getting a fair mediator at the same time. We, Somalilanders desire it. It is long over due and about time! customer essay

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>