Somaliland-Somalia talks that failed earlier would be resumed. But good news is that Switzerland is ready to host talks since Turkey has been accused of lacking neutrality among the two sides. According to Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire told local media in Hargeisa on Saturday, that the talks would be held soon as the logistics already started to fix the date. However, the preliminary meeting between the presidents Mohamed Abdilahi Farmajo of Somalia and Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland would be held in neighboring Djibouti. The two sides will set the agenda of the talks in Switzerland after the preliminary discussions are held. Thanks to president Muse Bihi Abdi who came up with an idea that Turkey should not be the only country to have the mediation role since previous meetings held in Turkey did not bear fruit.
The good beginning of the talks was unanimously impressed by the London conference on Somalia in May 2013 and called for further talks but why the talks have failed is the question being asked by Somalilanders. Many believe that such failure is the responsibility for Mogadishu government that still insists on the unity of Somalia and Somaliland and are ignoring that such unity lost many years ago while Somaliland wants to secure secession it declared in May 1991. Following the petition for recognition signed by more than one million citizens, out of the country’s population approximately a 4 million has been a sign that showed the world, Somaliland will never go back to Somalia but ready to be a brotherly state working together in the best interest of the region.
The past dialogue between Somaliland-Somalia in Turkey was an encouraging step toward political future of both sides which have been initiated former two presidents of Somaliland and Somalia. Though, former president of Somaliland Ahmed Silanyo during his term in office stated that Somaliland independence is irrevocable if it takes even 100 years while his counterpart of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh has repeatedly listed “national unity” as one of the top priorities for his administration. Such concepts were the reasons why the talks have failed.
According to a position letter signed by the former foreign minister of Somaliland, Dr. Mohamed Abdilahi Omer in 2013, the dialogue was aimed at working together on the matters of cooperating in the fight against terrorism, piracy, serious crime, illegal fishing, the dumping of toxic waste at sea and encouraging international aid, trade and investment before the recognition issue is touched. More than twenty years of severed relations, the Dialogue was expected to allow Somaliland and Somalia to negotiate on a range of practical measures which can potentially benefit for both sides but the federal government did not carry out what has been agreed and even does not recognize the Somaliland’s grievances from Siyad Barre who massacred many Somalilanders.
Why Somaliland Citizens Reject another Union with Somalia:
Somalia still has the way of thinking to ignore that Somaliland people have been independent in 1960s but to build the greater Somalia, they have joined to Mogadishu but has been an abortive at the end. The badly informed, arrogant authorities of Somalia still consider that Somaliland is run by Mogadishu and gives position of its government to some people who hail from Somaliland. Those individuals were prohibited to come back to Somaliland since they violated against Somaliland constitution that dictates the sovereignty of Somaliland republic is irrevocable.
Whenever they are to participate in the international conferences, they pretend to represent Somaliland and will bring it back to the unity but they should know that Somaliland is now an oasis of peace and stability after holding three presidential elections where power was transferred peacefully and this democratic process showed the international community that Somaliland is not something that can be changed by individuals. Anybody hailed from Somaliland and nominated as a member of Somalia federal government is just a desperate attempt to make one believe that Somaliland Republic is still a part of Somalia but the real issue is that everybody knows the unity of Somaliland and Somalia has already lost 1960s and would be back again.
According to my experience, Somaliland and its people had suffered with great brutality in the hands of Somalia as the history cannot be hidden. They will never forget the oppression, the suppression, the imprisonments, the torture, the massive displacements, the destruction of cities, and the genocidal acts committed against them by Siyad Barre administration. The mass graves are still in everywhere in the country and this is really a crime against the humanity and we, Somalilanders still remember the cries of our innocent people used to be killed at midnights.
What can be done if the talks again fail?
It is possible that the talks may again fail since Somalia still struggles to gain the unity of Somalia while Somaliland sticks to its succession, then Somaliland should continue working towards its democratic elections and cancel having any other talks with Somalia. Somaliland should influence its clans within all its colonial borders since it cannot be forced to join Somalia. Somaliland government should know that it gained a momentum of recognition by its own people but the other international recognition will come sometime later if Somalilanders come up with great tolerance and develop their own vision of Somaliland’s independence.
In sum, the Somaliland-Somalia Dialogue has the potential to be the sign of succession but not by a unity according to Somaliland people’s perception. It is fine for both sides to cooperate with each other instead of being hostile. I call for Somaliland to do every effort to plead its case on the African countries and the rest of the world that it’s the only solution to Somaliland problems. It is important that Somaliland should be engaged in the dialogue process as this is going to be a historic opportunity for it to convince with Somalia Federal Government to finally allow Somaliland as its neighboring state that can help a lot to Somalia. Therefore, this dialogue is necessary to promote Somaliland’s national interests and to keep Somaliland on course for recognition as an independent state.
By: Muse Jeeh, a freelance writer based in Hargeisa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org