Somalia: Berbera and Bosaso port deals at stake as Somali Parliament bans DP World

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The Lower House has banned the Emirati ports operator DP World from Somalia declaring it a threat to the country’s sovereignty, independence and unity throwing off balance the recently unveiled Tripartite Agreement with Somaliland and Ethiopia.

In a strongly worded resolution Monday, the House said DP World had deliberately infringed on the country’s sovereignty noting the UAE government owned ports operator was no longer welcome in Somalia.

“DP World has out rightly infringed on the sovereignty, independence and unity of Somalia,” the House said. “DP World is no longer part of the agreement and is therefore forbidden in Somalia.”

The lawmakers who debated the agreement in their first sitting after recess today noted the agreement with DP World was against the country’s Provisional Constitution adding, ‘DP World has crossed the red line’.

READ ALSO: BERBERA ROW: Mogadishu has the final say-President Farmaajo

President Farmaajo Saturday told a joint session of the Federal Parliament any agreements without the approval of state institutions was illegal adding,’ I am warning companies and countries not to cross the line and put to question the sovereignty of Somalia.”

Parliament Monday reiterated the President’s warning observing only the Federal Government through respective institutions can approve international agreements and the President has the final authority to sign them.

ANALYSIS

Today’s response from the August House adds voice to the Federal Government’s dismissal of the Berbera Port deal as a nullity even as Somaliland and DP World maintain they would proceed shrugging off Mogadishu’s response. Somaliland Foreign Minister Sa’ad Shire Sunday told parliament the entry of Ethiopia into concession was ‘strategic with hopes the capacity of the port can be increased’. Ethiopia has since remained mum over the controversial deal as the other two parties trade barbs with Mogadishu.

DP World’s CEO and group chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem drew the anger of Somalis last week when he rubbished the Federal Government’s dismissal of the agreement. Bin Sulayem who has been the face of the operator’s deals with Somaliland and Bosaso said Somaliland was an independent country free to enter into such agreements without the blessings of Mogadishu.

The House has also directed the Prime Minister to convey its decision to the government of UAE and brief the House on the government’s plan to implement the resolutions passed Monday.

Also at stake in today’s resolution is the Bosaso Port agreement between Puntland and DP World’s P&O Ports which locals are now questioning its rationale. P&O Ports secured the 30 year concession valued at $336 million last April but if Somalia actualizes today’s resolution then that deal could now hang in the balance. A row between Mogadishu and Garowe will almost be inevitable.