Workers offload barrels from a ship at the Port of Bosaso in Somalia's Puntland April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
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NAIROBI: A battle for access to seaports is underway in one of the world's unlikeliest places: Somalia, now caught up in a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side, with Qatar backed by Turkey on the other.A year ago, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates government signed a $336 million contract to expand the port of Bosaso, north of Mogadishu, in the semiautonomous Somali region of Puntland.At the same time, Turkey, an ally of UAE rival Qatar, is ramping up a multibillion-dollar investment push in Somalia.The official said making deals directly with regional governments in Somalia, as the UAE has done, undermined the central government.DETRIMENTAL EFFECTLess than a decade ago there was virtually no commercial interest in Somalia.The Gulf crisis has already deepened rifts in Somalia. The central government has stayed neutral, to the annoyance of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which Puntland and Somaliland have backed against Qatar.In mid-April, Somalia and the UAE ended military cooperation.
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