Hargeisa(ANN)-The Republic of Somaliland decried exclusion from the Saudi-driven Red Sea council despite the fact that it has the second-longest coastline along the Gulf of Aden.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tuesday, established in a press statement that the republic, although desirous of cooperation with anybody aiming to develop the region, will not, however, bow to any block that does not recognize its sovereignty, territorial boundaries and geostrategic importance.

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“Somaliland will not recognize the formation of any blocs that exclude legitimate stakeholders based on arbitrary, irrelevant or discriminatory or discriminatory criteria”, the statement emphasized.

“The Republic of Somaliland hereby reiterates its previous position to disregard and not cooperate with the policies, programs and activities of the Arab/ African member states bordering the Red Sea, so long it’s excluded and denied its rightful position among the important stakeholders. Somaliland is a sovereign country and will not delegate its territorial waters to any other country,” the statement said.

“Somaliland recognizes the strategic importance of the Red Sea for the peace and security of the region and in principal welcomes the need to develop a common position to protect these waters,” it added.

The statement underlined that it looked ‘forward to any cooperation’ which actively contributed ‘to the security and prosperity of this area, without compromising the sovereignty of any country’.

Saudi Arabia took Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, Egypt, the UN-recognised government of Yemen and Jordan to sign, Monday, a charter establishing what it called ‘the Council of Arab and African States bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden’.

Conspicuously absent at the function were Saudi vast allies the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. It is not yet clear why.

It is not yet clear also whether the new council will supplant a ‘taskforce‘ the Saudis formed in April 2019 comprising of same countries or that it will function alongside it with a different mandate.

The Republic of Somaliland made its dissatisfaction clear, then, as it did now, demanding its rightful place alongside its peers in any initiative covering its territorial waters without its permission and/or participation. Neither the Saudi Kingdom nor its smaller satellites and dependents in the area did not heed which makes the UAE absence of significance this time around. The UAE is becoming the strongest ally Somaliland has in the Gulf as cooperation between the two countries is slowly taking firmer shape.

READ: Saudi Arabia announced alliance Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea and Egypt, The Absent usual allies UAE and Bahrain | Araweelo News Network

Moreover, the fact that Saudi Arabia continues to invite Somalia to platforms where Somaliland is not despite that interests are discussed and decided on Somalia’s terms is a thorn on the Somaliland side which cannot be willed away so easily. Somalia has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the Republic of Somaliland territories or affairs and as such those signing the charter have neither the right to nor the legality to encroach into Somaliland maritime borders without meeting the consequences which Somalia cannot prevent.

Foreign Affairs press statement