Bilateral relations with Taiwan best ever: top Somaliland diplomat

Taipei, Feb 11 (CNA) Somaliland’s relations with Taiwan are the best they have ever been, the East African territory’s top diplomat, who heads a delegation to Taiwan, said Friday, while avoiding to wonder whether the two parties will establish diplomatic relations. ties.

“You are stuck with diplomatic relations! I don’t know why,” said Essa Kayd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, after being bombarded with questions at a press conference about whether Taiwan and the Somaliland were seeking to establish formal relations. .

“Taiwan and my country, Somaliland, have the most multifaceted relationship. The best. The best. We can’t get better than this,” Kayd said, without providing a direct response.

“Now whether you want to frame that diplomacy…I’ll leave that to you,” he added.

Comments from the Minister of Financial Development

Meanwhile, Saad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s Financial Development Minister, said Somaliland’s relationship with Taiwan “is defined by actions, not words.”

“We were received with full diplomatic protocols. And we let you decide how you define [it]and we will give that back to Somaliland,” the minister said.

Somaliland and Taiwan share common aspirations, principles, values ​​and interests, he said. “Our relationship is meant to be beneficial, not just for Somaliland and Taiwan, but for the global community. It’s not meant to be adversarial.”

Bilateral relations between Somaliland and Taiwan have warmed in recent years, despite strong objections from China, which considers Taiwan to be part of Chinese territory, and Somalia, which claims sovereignty over Somaliland.

Heated ties

Taipei opened a representative office in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, on August 17, 2020, while Somaliland authorities opened a reciprocal office in Taipei the following month on September 9.

Bilateral collaboration on telecommunications, trade, public health and agriculture progressed as expected after the opening of the two representative offices, Kayd said.

According to the delegation, Taiwan has invested in Somaliland and provided funds, while offering scholarships to support the education of Somaliland students.

Meanwhile, the diplomat said Somaliland is open to engaging in relations with other countries that respect Somaliland and want to do business with the territory without imposing preconditions.

“Somaliland is a sovereign country. No one can dictate in Somaliland… We will own our business as we want. China cannot dictate. No country can dictate,” Kayd said. “We are born free and we will remain free.”

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after years of conflict. It has offices in a dozen countries, according to its foreign ministry website, but has no formal diplomatic relations with any nation.

Recently, Somaliland has stepped up its efforts to seek support from other countries such as the United States. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that its chairman Muse Bihi Abdi plans to visit Washington in March to explore areas of bilateral collaboration.

The Somaliland delegation, which includes several ministers, arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday and met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and other senior Taiwanese officials over the past days.

When meeting with Tsai on Wednesday, the delegation presented trade and investment opportunities to Taiwanese officials, saying the autonomous territory has rich natural resources such as hydrocarbons, oil, natural gas and coal as well as other rare minerals.

According to Kayd, Somaliland is also seeking to work with Taiwan to develop and enhance the capabilities and capabilities of its coast guard.

Kayd pointed out that Somaliland, which is located on the Horn of Africa and close to the entrance to the Red Sea, has become “a very strategic area of ​​the world”.

Somaliland needs equipment, such as speedboats, drones and helicopters, and training for its coast guard to keep its coasts free from piracy, terrorism and other illegal activities , he added.

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