Somaliland: Apt Diplomacy Pays Off as the UAE Expands Development and Humanitarian Interventions


Amb Bashe Awil hands head of Khalifa Foundation H.E Mohamed Alkhoori a certification of appreciation from the president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo/file photo

B: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – The United Arab Emirates authorities have intensified their interventions geared towards mulit-sectoral development in Somaliland.
This intensification comes in the heels of the appointment of Ambassador Bashe Awil as the Somaliland resident diplomatic envoy in Abu Dhabi where he has not only sustained formerly existing relations but enhanced on them thence regular Emirati development and humanitarian missions visiting the country.
This was revealed in an interview journalist Mahmud Walaleye conducted with Amb Bashe Awil in Hargeisa where he chaperoned a visiting delegation from the UAE that delivered drought relief supplies in which the youthful diplomat said other areas seeing an upsurge of interventions by the Emiratis included Education, Investment and Water development among many.
Below are verbatim excerpts of the interview.

Q. What have been success accrued during your short tenure as the Somaliland diplomatic envoy to the UAE”
Amb Awil – In a nutshell an escalation of development and humanitarian activities by the UAE authorities and Emirati based charitable institutions is without doubt discernible by all.
Notable has been massive infusion if Emirati funds towards water developed that has seen the president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo lay the foundation to commence of construction at the Waheen water source in Maroodi-jeeh region.
On the same sector are plans for construction of a huge water reservoir (Dam) in Las Anod the Sool regional capital that shall commence immediately the Waheen project is completed.
Most important in the Sahil regional capital and major Somaliland port city of Berbera is the ongoing construction of a hitherto none existent slaughterhouse that is expected to complete in August 2016.

Somaliland Diplomatic Representative to the UAE Ambassador Bashe Awil OmarQ. Since these and others are multi-million dollar projects what would you attribute the Emiratis ease of funds release?
Amb Awil – This has resulted from extensive networking within the UAE undertaken by my mission in which diverse leadership has been approached and lasting beneficial relations established.
To elaborate it is worth mentioning that while the Emiratis were involved in the country prior to my appointment my residency in Abu Dhabi has seen an intensification in aid geared towards drought effects alleviation as exemplified by my current visit in which a high ranking delegation made up of UAE government and charitable institutions representatives (Third in a series) has delivered a large consignment of diverse drought relief supplies for distribution country in response to an appeal by president Silanyo.
In the same breath of resuscitated bi-lateral relations has ensued with the Emiratis conducting assessment pertinent to suitable interventions towards helping the government in Hargeisa develop the health sector as well as alleviation of difficulties encountered by orphans in the country in which anticipation of tangible results is anticipated in lieu of related past infusions.

Q. Ambassador can you elaborate on what the very important education sector has accrued as a result of diplomatic activities in your station?
Amb Bashe Awil – The Emiratis are currently engaged in supporting educational access for bright Somaliland students from poor families namely the provision of bursaries to 100 University of Hargeisa students while 40 others have received full scholarships to pursue higher studies in both Egypt and the UAE.
in the meantime discussions are ongoing in pursuit of enticing other wealthy Emiratis to Emulate Sheikh Hamdam who sponsors a modern secondary school in Hargeisa in which over 600 students are beneficiary of the modern studies provided by skilled teachers from within the country and Sudan as well.
Q. what other sector in the country are benefitting or with beneficial programs in the pipeline?
Amb Awil – Very apt question since the Emiratis have shown an interest in the religious FM radio station based at Radio Hargeisa in which modern equipment and personnel training have been promised not to mention that if things go well the station shall also have an ultramodern studio constructed in the precincts of the ministry of religious affairs in Hargeisa.
In addition to the planned developments for the FM station as well as ongoing construction of new buildings to headquarter the ministry of religious affairs in Hargeisa various regional and district capitals are targeted for support in construction of Mosques that shall also include amenities to cater for orphans.
Another multi-million project targeting installation of solar powered equipment to reduce electricity costs at the three busy ministries of Information, Aviation and energy is set for commencement as soon as drought relief supply is completed.
Let me mention that the installation of Solar power systems at these ministries should not be viewed as an inconsequential involvement by one of the richest nations on earth in lieu of the fact that the central coffers in Hargeisa shall be able to save millions of dollars in electricity bills incurred by the trio of government agencies.
Q. Within the Gulf Countries Cooperation the United Arab Emirates is reckoned with its military might, are there any plans to have Somaliland security agencies benefit from this might in any way?
Amb Bashe Awil – Yes, and rightly so, and in pursuit of this plans are in an advanced stage to have the UAE prop up the Somaliland armed forces with an assortment of equipment as well as specialized training for various army units.
Q. With such inputs should we term the UAE as the largest development and Humanitarian partner Somaliland has currently?
Amb Bashe Awil- For me it is not whether the Emiratis top the partnership chart but more the continued accruement of tangible benefits emanating from intensified diplomatic activities driven by the foreign policy put in place and under implementation by the administration of President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo, that has seen an expansion in relations with not only the developed but developing countries as well.

While there Somaliland has seen tangible relations secured globally, my diplomatic domain of the UAE is without reservation one that is the forefront of multi-sectored interventions not to mention being the main source of various necessary imports by Somaliland which also results in an infusion of large sums in economical beneficial investments by affluent individual Emiratis and companies thus worth urging Somalilanders to full heartedly accept intended foreign investments from this Gulf Country.
Q. What of rumours that you were engaged in Soliciting Berbera port Management for the UAE?
Amb Bashe Awil – This was nothing more than that, RUMOURS, for to date the Emiratis are neither managing the port nor approached me with such intentions.
But if they ever do indicate such a want then they will have to follow the proper channels as stipulated by the Somaliland constitution and laws for acquisition of public property either temporarily or otherwise.

Q. Finally Ambassador Bashe Awil what is your take on the fact that there is a discernible absence of bad publicity by the media on your person more so as pertains your relation with President Silanyo who is your father-in-law, that were rampant before and immediately after your appointment as diplomatic representative in the UAE?
Replies to this question were preceded by laughter and a visible glee on the face of the diplomat
Amb Bashe Awil – This change in attitude emanates directly from the realization that my activities as a public servant are largely due to my skills and drive for service and more so that my appointment as foreign representative in the UAE was by merit thus not having anything to do with my marital relations to the President as initially presumed.
Similar to dissipated personal condemnations those directed at the government have also diminished after the fruits borne by implementation of multi-sectored development strategies of the President Silanyo administration become difficult not acknowledging.
That said and done I wish to publicly state that am open and welcoming to positive criticism for it shall help me serve the nation better contrary to the abhorrent art of criticism for the sake of criticism thence devoid of substance.
L -R Amb Bashe Awil Omar and his father in law President Ahmed Mohamed SilanyoCopyright: Somalilandsun, 2016.