Somalia: Somaliland cancels planned talks with Somalia as Berbera row bites

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Talks between Somaliland and Somalia which were slated for March 29 in Djibouti will not happen, Somaliland President Muse Bihi has said as relations between the two parties hit a low over the Berbera port dispute.

Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament Sunday, Bihi directed blamed at Mogadishu over what he termed as interference over its affairs.

“Negotiation between Somalia and Somaliland that is supposed to take place on March 29 has ceased because Mogadishu government has invaded our country,” Bihi said.

International law, Bihi said is clear that we have nothing to do with their nation building process just as we don’t about theirs since 1991.

The talks which were expected to resume after the last one collapsed in Turkey in 2015 have been marred by the souring relations between Mogadishu and Hargeisa over the Berbera Port concession to the Emirati ports operator DP World. The Federal Government in Mogadishu has dismissed the deal as unconstitutional and banned DP World from operating in Somalia. Somaliland and DP World have however maintained the 30 year concession which saw Ethiopia acquire a 19% stake last month will proceed.

“We do not understand their decision regarding Berbera,” Bihi told the annual joint sitting of Parliament.

Somaliland announced a raft of measures this month in retaliation to developments in Mogadishu. For instance it declared all doSo domain extensions illegal in its territory giving website hosting companies and institutions one month to migrate to other extensions. This came after the Federal Government took control of the country’s top-level country domain doSo which was under private hands.

Somaliland broke away and pursued self- determination in 1991 following the collapse of the central government and subsequent disintegration of the state.

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