WASHINGTON (SD) – The Wall Street Journal reports that the Somaliland government is offering a deal to the US military the use of a strategic seaport and airfield in exchange for steps towards recognizing Somaliland as an autonomous country.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the latest offer comes at a time when China’s expansion in Africa is on the upsurge.
“The president would definitely welcome a U.S. presence and protection of the waterways, America should react very urgently,” Somaliland Foreign Minister Essa Kayd said in an interview.
After decades of yearning for recognition, Somaliland has resumed its crusade for recognition, which is why the President of Somaliland is scheduled to pay his first visit to the United States.
Somaliland is also taking advantage of the United States frustrations over Somalia’s failure to eliminate Al-Shabaab militants, who pose a threat to the US interests and security.
However the article states that the US President Biden’s government is adamant that despite Somalia’s communal and territorial problems, it remains a country.
However, US diplomats did not hide their infuriation with President Farmajo, who postponed the Somalia’s presidential election for a year and extended his term, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The continued instability in the Horn of Africa and heightened global competition for resources and influence make it all the more important that we work with like-minded partners in the region, like Somaliland, committed to peace, democracy, and prosperity,” said Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.
The Chinese government has built a military base in Djibouti, which currently houses about 4,500 US troops and is a crucial transit point.
“If China occupies our country by force or by other means, then the waterways are going to be controlled by China,” said Mr. Kayd, the Somaliland Foreign Minister.
Somaliland has made moves towards the west and has already forged diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a move that has enraged China. DP World also operates the Berbera port and owns 65% stake of the port.
Lawmakers advocating for Somaliland recently held a debate in the UK Parliament calling for their country to recognize Somaliland.
Somaliland was recently visited by US congressional staff, and a plane carrying US military officials has landed in Berbera’s airport, assessing its viability.
The Wall Street Journal reports that if Djibouti ousts the United States from the country, which they have not expressed any intent to do so yet, it could be a challenge to find another secure location to host the US troops based there.
On the other hand, the Somalia government strongly opposes the secession of Somaliland and other regions from Somalia, Somalia Deputy Minister of Information Abdirahman Al Adala told the newspaper.
“It’s very clear that Somalia won’t accept dividing the country,” said Abdirahman Yusuf Sheikh Al Adala, Somalia’s deputy minister of information. He said the country’s constitution forbids such a breakup.
In short, Somaliland now appears to be accelerating its quest for recognition by seeking to take advantage of Somalia’s maladministration. However, the move comes at a time when President Muse Bihi, himself has been accused of violating Somaliland’s democratic credentials and intending to extend his term as did President Farmajo.
This could lead to chaos and political setbacks for Somaliland’s reputation of peaceful and democratic governance in Africa.
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