U.A.E. May Fly Warplanes From Somalia as Africa Reach Grows

By Nizar Manek, 25 May 2017

  • Proposed Somaliland base to sit on busy world shipping route
  • Emirates increasingly flexing its diplomatic, military muscle

(Bloomberg) --
A proposed United Arab Emirates base in semi-autonomous northern Somalia may add a naval facility to a military airport, extending the Arab nation’s reach on the Horn of Africa coastline, a Somali official said.
The U.A.E. has leased the airport in the Somaliland port town of Berbera for 25 years and is still negotiating terms of use, Somaliland Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire said in an interview. Berbera is located on the Gulf of Aden, about 260 kilometers (162 miles) south of Yemen, where U.A.E. troops in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition are battling Houthi rebels, and on the approach to the Bab el-Mandeb, a choke-point in global shipping that gives tankers access to the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
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