SOMALILAND: IRIN News Briefs [19990519]

SOMALILAND: IRIN News Briefs [19990519]

SOMALILAND: IRIN News Briefs, 19 May

Egal decries international "imposition" of aid

President of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, Mohamed Egal, on Saturday hit out at the international community, saying that while the territory appreciated the "crumbs" it was being given, the aid was being imposed without the involvement of local people which it was intended to benefit.

Speaking to journalists in Hargeisa, after the launch of a capacity-building project for Berbera municipality through UNCHS (Habitat) and the European Commission, Egal said: "Nobody asks us what we need or how we want to be helped. For example, this particular project is very much appreciated, but we don't know anything about it." "We are very grateful for the crumbs we are given here, but it is not benefiting us: it is being imposed."

Egal urged assistance for the further stabilisation of Somaliland in order to put in place a sold administration. "Heaven knows, we need help to rebuild this country. We have stabilised it, we have pacified it, we have disarmed all the tribal militia without any assistance from anybody," he said. [Full interview issued separately by IRIN on 18 May]

Berbera project intended as a "partnership for peace and development"

A joint UN and EC delegation on Saturday launched the Berbera municipal support project, mentioned by Egal. Acting executive director of UNCHS (Habitat), Klaus Toepfer, together with Ambassador Sciortino, the Italian Special Envoy to Somalia, and Duarte Carvalho, the Counsellor of the EC, launched the US $1.5m project in Berbera before travelling to Hargeisa to meet President Egal.

The Berbera project, described by Toepfer as "a partnership towards peace and development in Somaliland", is intended to improve the institutional capacity of the municipality by providing technical and institutional assistance, particularly on financial and urban management.

UN assures continued support despite Kosovo

Toepfer, who travelled to Berbera from talks with the UN Secretary-General in Geneva, assured Somaliland that the Balkans conflict would not divert resources needed for other parts of the world. He said Habitat had much to do, along with the people of Somaliland, for stability and reconstruction in the post-conflict period.

Ethiopia-Eritrea war brings opportunity to Berbera

The Ethiopia-Eritrea war, by disrupting Ethiopia's access to the Red Sea, has provided Somaliland with economic opportunity by giving the port of Berbera an opportunity to prove itself, the Mayor of Berbera, Abdalla Hji Ahmed Ali, said on Saturday. With Berbera port - which provides 80 percent of Somaliland's income - currently losing US $20,000 a month and operating at less than half capacity because of a livestock export ban, Ethiopia's lack of access to Eritrean ports offers it potential custom, he said.

He said Somaliland had been "put on the map". "We have been tested ... and we have proven that we can do the work, and that's a very, very good opportunity", he told journalists.


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Item: irin-english-849

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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