Somaliland leased Berbera Airport to UAE, but after protest by Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as a violation and threat to the country’s sovereignty, the agreement stalled for months, until UAE agreed with Somalia to continue using the Red Sea airport.
On Friday, Somaliland Foreign Minister Sa’ad Ali Shire said that the warplanes of the Arab country will start to fly and land at Berbera Airport.
"The UAE government can access the Berbera Airport for any purpose including training, surveillance of sea movement operations and military operations.” Mr, Shire said during an interview with Washington-based Voice of America Somali Service.
Berbera is only 250KM from southern part of Yemen, where the Saudi-led Sunni Alliance is conducting airstrikes against Houthi militia group to safeguard the weak government based in Adan. UAE sees Berbera as a strategic location to control sea movement of the militia group including the Gulf of Aden where Iran mercenaries are allegedly transporting weapons to arm Houthis in Yemen.
Berbera is only 250KM from southern part of Yemen, where the Saudi-led Sunni Alliance is conducting airstrikes against Houthi militia group
Somaliland Foreign Minister said part of the airport is currently under renovation and some enlargement and then soon it will host military planes.
Reacting to concerns by some regional nations, Mr. Shire said that Somaliland does not see any problem arising from the usage of Berbera Airport by the UAE military planes as he noted similar agreement between Eritrea and UAE which allows UAE to use Asab Port for military purposes.
The UAE-owned Dubai Ports World has also leased the Berbera seaport in an agreement in mid last year which allows the management of the port for 30 years by investing $442 during that period.
Ethiopia, a neighboring country will also receive 39% of the port operations management share.
The former British protectorate declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 and has succeeded in establishing peace and stability but it has no international recognition.