What is little known of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UAE and Somaliland is the generous use of the 3 magic words for Somalilanders all over the world: Republic of Somaliland.
Throughout the MOU, not less than 9 times were the words used in the 4-page signed document.
To begin with the MOU states that this agreement was ‘Between the United Arab Emirates represented by the government of Dubai and the government of the Republic of Somaliland represented by the Foreign Minister of Somaliland’.
One major reason, the MOU states, that the two parties enter this understanding on, is the recognition of ‘the importance of strategic relations between the Emirate of Dubai (as it represents the UAE) and the Republic of Somaliland in various areas of cooperation’.
The primary objective of the cooperation, the MOU points out, is ‘to further develop the economic and commercial ties between the Emirate of Dubai and the Republic of Somaliland’.
For Somaliland, the newly found rapport with a formidable ally in the UAE and the de facto recognition of the status of this long forgotten country in the use of the three most-coveted words for Somalilanders, would go down in history as a ‘historical’ achievement for both countries in their relations.
The DP World Chief Executive, Sultan bin Ahmed Sulayem, also called the agreement ‘historical’ echoing what lay uppermost in the minds and the hearts of the two nations on either side of the waters that divided them: economic, political, social, etc.
No wonder that Mogadishu and the weak, international-burden-administration it hosted was not able to conceal its alarm and animosity towards the discovery of a common friendship bond between the UAE and the Republic of Somaliland.
The FGS of that city leased control and operations of its main airport, Adan Adde International Airport, and the main seaport in the same city to Turkish firms for long periods. It also ceded military bases to Turkey in places adjacent to Mogadishu – and in Puntland (as rumored).
And yet when the MOU between the Republic of Somaliland and the UAE surfaced, it hit the roof for obvious reasons the least of which being the political and economic ramifications of the understanding for Somaliland and the region which touched Ethiopia and Djibouti on contrasting chords.
The Republic of Somaliland and its people welcome the new UAE-Somaliland cooperation wholeheartedly, realizing the magnitude if its far-reaching benefits. No amount of opposition from Mogadishu or its local detractors can diminish the timely intervention of the project or its all-round importance to the country or the whole region.