Somaliland-Khatumo Agreement on the Brink of Collapse

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Although Somaliland-Khatumo agreement remains the best way out of a political conflict damaging Somaliland’s quest for diplomatic recognition,  the Somaliland Government,  which is splintered into competing groups, could be a cause for the possible unravelling of the agreement.  The press conference  held in Hargeisa by Somaliland Interior Minister and Mohamed Kahin, top Kulmiye official and negotiator, indicates that Somaliland negotiators have second thoughts about the agreement.  Kahin said that 10 July conference, slated to take place in Bura’o  between Somaliland Government and Khatumo, had been postponed.  The postponement has angered Khatumo President, Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh, who described the postponement decision as a violation of the agreement signed in June by Khatumo administration and Somaliland Government.

Collapse of the agreement will exacerbate the security situation in the disputed territories federally aligned with Puntland on the basis of 2016 agreement between Puntland Government and the Somali Federal Government endorsed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM ).

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Somaliland Government knew Dr Galaydh heads one group of stakeholders in Sool, and yet it signed with Khatumo  a deal that entitled him to claim overall political representation in Sool with Somaliland-controlled territories . He interpreted the agreement and the Bura’o conference as an opportunity to mobilise his supporters in and outside the country. The postponement  of the Bura’o conference  points to a disarray in Somaliland  Government, which realises it cannot take the risk of alienating militias it relies on to control Sool. If Galaydh pulls out of the agreement  on the grounds  that Somaliland has violated the terms of the agreement, it will be difficult for Khatumo to regain the political clout it once had. Puntland and Somaliland  will, once again, become the main political antagonists in the disputed territories.

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