The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will train Somaliland adminstraion security forces as part of a deal to establish a military base in the semi-autonomous region, Somaliland’s president said on Thursday.
UAE government officials could not immediately be reached for comment – but the UAE has committed to invest hundreds of million dollars in recent years in the territory on a strategically important stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Aden.
The UAE began construction last year of a base on a site at the airport of the Somaliland port city Berbera, and will be allowed to maintain a presence for 30 years.
The biggest threat to Somaliland is poverty.
Berbera is less than 300 km (190 miles) south of war-torn Yemen, where UAEtroops are fighting rebels as part of a Saudi-backed coalition.
President Muse Bihi Abdi said the UAEwould train police and military in Somaliland, which wants independence from war-torn Somalia but is not recognised internationally. He said he expected the agreement to be finalised within two months.
“They have the resources and the knowledge,” Abdi told Reuters in an interview in Abu Dhabi.