Civilian airport in place of Somaliland military base


The United Arab Emirates no longer plans to establish a military airport in Somaliland and the facility currently being built will become a civilian airport, the region’s president said.

Somaliland said last year the UAE would train military in the semi-autonomous region, part of a deal to host a UAE base.

“The Berbera airport being built by the UAE and designed to be a military base will become a public airport,” Muse Bihi Abdi said.

UAE officials did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The UAE began construction of the base in 2017 in port city Berbera. In terms of the deal, the UAE was to have a presence for 30 years.

Berbera is less than 300 km south of Yemen, where UAE troops are fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group as part of a Saudi-backed coalition.

The UAE, concerned about rising tensions with Iran and Western criticism of the Yemen war, scaled down its military presence in June.