Somaliland: Hargeisa Office on hold until Pandemic Eases and Flights Resume-Taiwan

Taiwan Foreign ministry official Ali Yang says that plans to set up informal relations with Somaliland will go ahead once the COVID-19 pandemic eases and flights resume
Plans to open a Taiwanese representative office in Somaliland and a Somaliland representative office in Taipei are on hold due to COVID-19. That was the word from the foreign ministry’s chief of African affairs, Ali Yang, on Thursday.

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”.

Taiwanese envoy to Somaliland Lou Chen-hwa and his Counterpart Mohamed Omar Haji Mohamud,

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.