TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan will send medical experts to Somaliland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced, in the latest development in its year-long relationship with the Horn of Africa country.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Somaliland Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Liban Yousuf Osman on Wednesday (June 16) signed the Taiwan-Somaliland Medical Cooperation Agreement.
The medical team will be based at a hospital in the Somaliland capital of Hargeysa. Its members will train healthcare workers there, according to MOFA.
During the signing ceremony, Wu called medical cooperation a key area of collaboration between the two sides, according to CNA. The minister also mentioned that Taiwan started an initiative in Somaliland last year focused on bringing down its high maternal and neonatal mortality rates.
Osman wrote on Twitter afterward that the agreement "marks a significant milestone in Somaliland-Taiwan friendship & strategic partnership."
No timeline has been set for the medical mission, and the ministry is currently carrying out relevant procedures in accordance with the Conclusion of Treaties Act, according to MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安). After the plan has the approval of the Cabinet, the ministry will hash out the details related to implementation with the Somaliland authorities.
Taiwan surprised many last year when it announced it was establishing ties with Somaliland. The two quickly moved to open representative offices in each other's territory by the end of the summer.
Although claimed by Somalia, Somaliland declared itself independent in 1991 as the civil war-wracked Somalia descended into a failed state. Today, Somaliland is a self-ruled democracy with its own military, currency, and diplomatic missions. Like Taiwan, however, it has struggled to gain widespread diplomatic recognition.