Abdirahman Irro threatens to cancel DP World agreement and UAE military airport deal

BERBERA – Waddani Presidential Candidate, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro, has said his party will review all of the investment projects in Berbera, and reverse all deals that he feels were conducted ‘illegally’, if he is elected President of Somaliland on November 13th.

Irro criticized the $442 million DP World Berbera Port agreement, the UAE military base deal that was signed earlier this year, and the privatization of Berbera’s fuel tank depot, calling all the deals ‘illegal’, and pledging to return these properties back to the people of Berbera.

“The city of Berbera was once famous for it’s port, airport, fuel tank depot and factories. Berbera was the only city with fresh tap water for a long period. It was also the commercial hub of Somaliland, but today, none of these projects are no longer running,” Irro said.

The airport is no longer functioning, the port isn’t functioning, active factories in Berbera are non-existent, and as for the fuel tank depot, you are all aware of  its current operating status,” Irro said.

“All of these actions are illegal. Waddani pledges to review all the illegal handouts of public properties, and return them back into the hands of the public,” Irro said.

“Our party is welcoming of all investment projects in Berbera, but investment deals shouldn’t be conducted under the table. The details of all deals should be known by parliament and the public, we promise to review all the deals that were signed by Kulmiye administration, ” Irro said.

Irro has spoken against the $442 Berbera Port investment deal signed between the Silanyo government and DP World, many times before. Irro and his party were also the main opponents of the Somaliland-UAE military base deal, earlier this year.

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It is highly unlikely that Irro can do much about the deals, as the port’s upgrade is already in progress, and construction of the UAE military base is already underway.

Irro also said during his speech, that he discussed the investment of Berbera Port with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, during their meeting in early October.

Ethiopia is currently seeking a 19% share in the 442 million DP World Berbera Port concession. Ethiopia’s share hasn’t been confirmed yet, and is still pending approval.

Irro with PM Desalegn (Oct 11th)

Irro’s comments on the meeting hints that both sides are not happy with the deal, and that they could explore other options, if Irro emerges victorious on November 13th.

“During my meeting with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, we discussed how we can build a international modern port in Berbera. God willing, we will build an international modern port in Berbera that will serve the region, including Ethiopia,” Irro said.

This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.

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