Berbera is located on the Gulf of Aden, 260 kilometers (162 miles) south of Yemen, where U.A.E. troops in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition are battling Houthi rebels. Somaliland’s foreign minister said in May that the U.A.E. leased the airport in Berbera for 25 years as part of a pact for a military base. The gulf country is also building a military installation in Eritrea.
The Somaliland naval base will include a 300-meter (984-foot) L-shaped inland berthing port with a depth of 7 meters “to support the military airport,” accommodating naval vessels to patrol the Gulf of Aden, according to Darwish.
“It’s not a commercial port,” he said. “It’s only for naval vessels.”
Somaliland Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire didn’t immediately respond to two calls to his mobile and two emails seeking comment. A U.A.E. foreign ministry official didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.