The 1991 Somaliland declaration of independence from Somalia is not internationally recognized. However, it maintains informal diplomatic contacts with a range of countries through a network of representative offices.
Yang says that in addition to the danger posed by COVID-19 itself, the delay is also due to the severing of air links between Somaliland and Dubai, the only route that allows for onward service to Taiwan. Yang says the opening of the two representative offices will proceed once the pandemic eases and flights into Somaliland resume.
The cooperation agreement between Taiwan and Somaliland, located in the strategically important region of the Horn of Africa, was signed back in February, but it was not made public.
On June 1, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced that the governments of Taiwan and Somaliland “have agreed that the establishment of representative offices will best serve the interests of one another”.
To jump-start the diplomatic pact the President of Somaliland Muse Bihi appointed Mohamed Hagi to head his Taiwanese office. In turn, Taiwan appointed Taiwan capital Lou Chen-Hwa as its representative in Hargeisa, the capital of the unrecognized African state.