Somaliland would officially open a representative office in Taipei early next month, the self-declared east African state’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, said yesterday.
Preparations are still under way to set up the representative office, but it is expected to start operations on Sept. 9, Mohamoud said.
Working with the representative would be four employees, two who arrived from Somaliland with Mohamoud and two Taiwanese, who have yet to be recruited, he added.
A handout provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Representative to Somaliland Lou Chen-hua, left, and Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Yasin Hagi Mohamoud opening Taiwan’s representative office in Hargeisa on Monday last week.
The representative revealed the plan on the sidelines of a seminar held by the Taipei-based Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association on allowing Africa-based Taiwanese businesspeople and African students studying in Taiwan to share their views on exploring trade opportunities on the continent.
It was the first event that Mohamoud has attended since he completed a 14-day quarantine after arriving in Taiwan on Aug. 7.
Mohamoud described relations between Somaliland and Taiwan as “formal,” saying that the proof is February’s agreement signed by their foreign ministers that each would establish a representative office in the other’s country.
High-ranking officials from the two nations participated in a ceremony on Monday last week to mark Taiwan’s opening of its representative office in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa.
The agreement, designed to pave the way toward greater cooperation, has attracted the ire of China, which considers Taiwan as its territory, and Somalia, which has a similar view of Somaliland.
However, despite Chinese influence and pressure, Mohamoud said that Somaliland’s relationship with Taiwan would remain unaffected.
Somaliland is an independent, sovereign country, Mohamoud said, adding that other countries cannot dictate “with whom we are going to develop relations.”
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after a civil war.
Somaliland has set up 22 representative offices, including in Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland and the US, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.