Strategically situated on the Gulf of Aden, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland’s relations with its neighbors are crucial to its aspirations for international recognition. Following presidential elections in 2017, disputes with the Federal Government of Somalia over Somaliland’s sovereignty, and tensions with the semi-autonomous Puntland region over disputed border territories remain unresolved.
Recent years have seen increasing security and trade relations between Gulf states and the Horn of Africa, presenting opportunities to boost economic growth and improve regional integration. However, the crisis between the Gulf states has polarized the wider region, complicating dialogue. In March 2018, an investment deal between United Arab Emirates (UAE) company DP World, Somaliland and Ethiopia to develop Berbera Port facilities was rejected by the Somali parliament, demonstrating increased diplomatic strain, with further controversy over the establishment of a UAE military base in the city.
At this event Somaliland’s minister of foreign affairs, HE Dr Saad Ali Shire, will discuss regional relations including with neighbours Somalia and Ethiopia, the influence of the Gulf states and impact of the crisis, and developments in the Berbera Port deal and other infrastructure projects, as well as how they can progress Somaliland’s economic growth and regional integration.