A delegation from Somaliland led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Mohamed Behi Yonis, and included Ambassador Mohamud Jama travelled to New York during the first week of September for meetings with high-level officials at the United Nations. The Under-Secretary General for the Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, warmly received Minister Yonis and his colleagues.
Minister Yonis highlighted Somaliland’s positive achievements in combating Al Shabaab and maintaining a peaceful and stable nation. His Excellency requested further engagement from the United Nations through accurate reporting and better acknowledgment of Somaliland’s achievements. The meeting provided a good opportunity for Minister Yonis to brief Under-Secretary General Feltman about Somaliland’s relations with Puntland, progress with relations in Sool and Sanaag and the “Khatumo” rebel movement, the status of the Dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia as well as the recent visit of SRSG Nicholas Kay to Hargeisa.
The trip was Minister Yonis’ first official visit to the United Nations since being appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The purpose of the short visit was mainly to listen and directly engage with officials at the United Nations and Permanent Representatives of Missions in order to better understand how Somaliland can progress its ambitions with support from the international community. In addition to briefing a number of officials on Somaliland’s achievements and challenges, the visit also paved the way to strengthen Somaliland’s relations with the United Nations and its member states.
Moreover, as well as meeting high-level officials at the United Nations, Minister Yonis and his delegation also met Permanent Representatives at a number of Missions including, the UK, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey, Italy, Sierra Leone and Norway. The meetings provided a useful opportunity for Minister Yonis to have frank discussions about Somaliland’s relations with the United Nations, the support it requires to strengthen its case for maintaining its autonomy and enabled the different Missions to establish a dialogue with Minister Yonis and his delegation for future cooperation.
His Excellency stressed the importance of the visit commenting that “achieving international recognition for Somaliland lies in better direct engagement with the United Nations and its member states on a regular basis.” Minister Yonis noted that he looked forward to returning to the United States and United Nations in the near future to build on the successful series of meetings had by the delegation this week.