Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on Saturday broke his silence on the controversial Berbera Port deal issuing a warning to foreign companies investing in Somalia without consent from the Federal Government .
In his speech at the opening of the Third session of the Federal Parliament of Somalia Farmaajo in an apparent reference to the UAE company DP World warned of interference on Somalia matters by foreigners.
“Every company which wants to invest in Somalia must follow the due process as laid down by the law” Farmaajo told Parliament.
“I am warning foreign companies not to interfere with our sovereignty” he said leading Parliamentarians to give him a standing ovation.
“Although we may be weak and our structures still developing we will not allow an inch of our land to be taken” Farmaajo said.
His reaction came amid a smear campaign on social media targeting his person alleged to have been sponsored by the UAE government.
The company behind the deal DP World had issued a statement defending the tripartite agreement The CEO said that he recognizes breakaway region of Somaliland as an independent country.
Sources have told Radio Dalsan that President Farmaajo will next week pay a state visit of Qatar leading a large delegation of ministers coming amid strained relations between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi.
Somalia had termed the deal illegal saying it had not been consulted when Ethiopia, Somaliland and DP World signed the $1Bn deal.
Somali Politicians Put Aside Differences To Defend Farmaajo As UAE Launches Social Media Offensive
Somali leaders from across party affiliations have come to the support of Predient Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo amid a smear campaign by alleged UAE sponsored bloggers on Social media.
Mahad Salad who a staunch supporter of former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a critic of Farmaajo has told UAE to keep off Somalia affairs.
“Though I differ with Farmaajo politically he is the President of this country and a symbol of unity and sovereignity add stated in Article 87 of the Somali Provisional Constitution” Salad posted on his Facebook account.
He accused the UAE government of masterminding the social media smear campaign.
“For foreign countries to attack his person is a mockery to our unity, dignity and pride and we shall not accept foreign countries to over step as they are looking for their own interest” he added.
Former Galmudug regional state President Abdikarim Hussein Guled shared similar sentiments.
“Farmaajo is the rightly elected President of Somalia. He deserves respect.” He posted on his Facebook account .
” We Shall not accept foreign countries to disrespect his dignity and that of the entity of the Presidency” .
Guled is affiliated to a political alignment that backs former President Mohamud and critical to Farmaajo.
UAE bloggers alleged to be sponsored by Abu Dhabi trended the hashtag #SomaliaWantFarmagoOut.
The tweets shared photos of photos from the 2011 famine and recent terror attacks to back claim that Farmaajo had failed to lead Somalia.
Somalia in Social media reacted swiftly by starting a hashtag #SomeoneTellUAE backing Farmaajo.
UAE Somalia relations has been strained since the change of guard at the Villa Somalia in February 2017.
The latest diplomatic row was triggered by the signing of a tripartite Berbera Port deal between breakaway region of Somaliland, UAE company DP World and Ethiopia. Somalia rejected the deal terming it illegal.
Somali Members of Parliament in the Lower House on Monday March,12 2018 approved legislation declaring the controversial Berbera port deal “null and void”.
MPs have further called for the ban of UAE port operator DP World from operating within Somalia.
Out of the 170 MPs 168 voted in favour of the legislation, 1 abstained and 1 rejected.
The legislation is also to affect the concession of the Bossasso Port in the semi-autonomous northeastern region of Puntland.
The Legislation is expected to go through the Upper House of Parliament from Tuesday.
It will become law upon ascension by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
The tripartite $1Bn Berbera Port deal has brewed a diplomatic row between Somalia and UAE.
Somalia has termed the deal illegal saying it was not consulted while breakaway Somaliland asserts it has the rights to make own deals as an “independent country”.
It is worth to be mentioned that this is the second loss for UAE in less than a month in the African Horn
Last month: Djibouti ends Dubai’s DP World contract to run container terminal, Government says move was to protect ‘the interests of the Djiboutian nation’.
On February 22, 2018 Djibouti has ended a contract with Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, to run its Doraleh Container Terminal, the president’s office said on Thursday. “The Republic of Djibouti has decided to proceed with the unilateral termination with immediate effect of the concession contract awarded to DP World,” the office of President Ismail Omar Guelleh said in a statement.
“It seems that some small countries are closer to democracy and independence than other big countries in the region”