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Diplomatic row brewing as Somalia voids UAE/Somaliland port deal

Diplomatic row brewing as Somalia voids UAE/Somaliland port deal

A diplomatic row appears to be brewing between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates after the East African country voided a billion-dollar port deal. 

On Monday, members of Somalia's Parliament voted to approve legislation which declared the controversial Berbera port deal "null and void" between the UAE and the breakaway Republic of Somaliland. 

Recently, the self-declared republic entered into an agreement with a Dubai-based company, as well as the government of Ethiopia to manage the port of Berbera in Somaliland. 

MPs in Somaliland voted last year to allow the UAE to set up a military base in Berbera to help fight Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

Somalia MPs in the country's Lower House voted on Monday to nullify the controversial deal. The Somali government also approached the Arab League to annul deal, saying that the deal violates its unity and constitution. 

MPs also called for the UAE operator, DP World, to be banned from operating within Somalia. 

Voting results showed that out of 170 MPs, 168 voted for the legislation, 1 against and 1 abstained. 

The legislation is expected to go through Somalia's Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday, from where it will become law once signed by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Somalia is arguing that the deal is illegal as it was not consulted, while Somaliland argues that as an "independent country", it has the right to make its own deals. 

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