UAE dispatches envoy to Somaliland amid strained ties with Mogadishu
HARGEISA, Somalia - The northern breakaway region of Somaliland on Saturday received an envoy from the United Arab Emirates [UAE], in a move that could further jeopardize the relationship between Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu, over several issues concerning Hargeisa's recognition.
President Muse Bihi Abdi received credentials of Abdulla Alnaqbi, who will be now serving as an ambassador to Somaliland, which has been working closely with the region, that is keen to be internationally recognized, after years of struggle.
Mr. Bihi Abdi said both Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates share strategic partnership and friendship, adding that common values have sustained the relationship for a while now. The nomination, he noted, will cement the relationship between the two sides.
"Received H.E. Abdulla Alnaqbi who presented his letter of credence as the first posted UAE Representative to the Republic of Somaliland," the Somaliland president, who took over leadership in the region in 2017, said in a tweet.
"Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates share strategic partnership, friendship, and common values. H.E. Abdulla's nomination will cement and take this to the next level," he noted in his statement, which could rattle Mogadishu authorities.
Due to competing interests, UAE and Somalia have not been best of friends, with either side pointing an accusing finger against each other. Somalia usually accuses the UAE of working closely with the opposition which is keen to kick out President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
The UAE is a major development of Somaliland and has been working on the Port of Berbera, which would open the Horn of Africa once completed. The port is a major investment by Abu Dhabi in the region, which claimed to have seceded from Somalia in 1991.