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Saudi Agriculture Minister Defends Importation Of Somali Livestock

11 Feb, 2010 -
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi Minister of Agriculture, Dr Fahd Balghonaim, strongly defended the Saudi government’s decision to lift the ban on importing Somali livestock. According to the Somali language newspaper Haatuf,

Dr Balghonaim was responding to an article in Riyadh newspaper which alleged that the ministry of agriculture decision’s to lift the ban on Somali livestock was done hastily and without sending technical experts to verify the quality of the work done by the livestock health inspection facilities at the ports of Berbera and Bosasso.

In his press conference, Dr Balghonaim said his ministry lifted the ban on Somali livestock only after the OIE sent experts who evaluated the livestock health inspection facilities at the ports of Berbera and Bosasso, and after they released a report in which they made it clear that the inspection facilities did meet the required standards.
Dr Balghonaim did concede that he initially received a letter from the minister of commerce in Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) requesting Saudi Arabia not to deal with the port of Berbera but also received a subsequent letter which withdrew that initial request.
The construction of Somaliland’s livestock inspection facility in Berbera was financed by al-Jabiri, a Saudi businessman. In return, al-Jabiri was given license by Somaliland government to export livestock to Saudi Arabia.
Another Saudi businessman called Abu Yasir has also been trying to break into Somaliland livestock market but his efforts were unsuccessful. Some reports say that Abu Yasir is behind the article in al-Riyadh newspaper as his way of getting back at Somaliland for not allowing him access to Somaliland’s livestock market.

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