The self-declared republic of Somaliland has expressed an interest in hosting British and Russian naval bases, which would add to an already active military presence along the coast of the Red Sea – one of the world’s busiest and most strategically important maritime passages.
Last weekend, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson paid an unannounced visit to Somaliland and met with President Muse Bihi Abdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, and Defense Minister Essa Ahmed as well as Nuh Ismail Tani, top army general.
In 1991, the Horn of Africa territory of Somaliland seceded from Somalia, which had itself gained independence from Britain in 1960. But for the past 28 years, Somaliland has remained officially unrecognized as a country – a status it resents.
Ahmed Hassan Egal, head of the Somaliland mission to Ethiopia, confirmed to Anadolu Agency that military cooperation, and more specifically the establishment of a U.K. naval base in Somaliland at the port of Berbera, was among the points of discussion.