On 5 June 2015, Mr Mowlid Mahmoud Ibrahim, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland visited UNPO’s Advocacy Office in Brussels. The meeting took place on the occasion of Mr Ibrahim’s mission to the European capital, where he met with several representatives of the European institutions.
The Deputy Minister, who was accompanied by Mr Mohamoud Daar, Vice President of UNPO and representative of Somaliland to the organisation, drew attention to the current situation in his country, as well as the need to raise awareness at the European level of the democratisation process and development underway in Somaliland.
During discussions with members of the UNPO Secretariat, Mr Ibrahim underlined the positive change that Somaliland has undergone over the past few years and its significant investments in development, education, health and infrastructures, including the ongoing realisation of a highway to connect its two main cities, Hargeisa and Berbera. The Deputy Minister also highlighted his country’s significant fight against piracy, as well as against extremist organisations such as Al Shabaab – a costly fight the Somaliland government is carrying out without any international support. Discussions also touched upon Somaliland’s response to the flow of refugees from crisis-struck Yemen; providing assistance to the refugees, currently estimated to account for between 4000 and 5000 persons, weighs heavily on Somaliland’s already strained budget.
Regarding the deferral of the national elections, initially scheduled for June of this year , Mr Ibrahim affirmed that it is due to organisational difficulties and that Somaliland is strongly committed to the advance of democracy. The three main parties are now discussing technical aspects of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, which are expected to take place towards the end of 2016. As during previous elections and as a sign of its commitment to democratic practices, the Republic of Somaliland intends to invite several international observers to monitor the forthcoming elections. In view of UNPO’s previous experiences in Iraq and Abkhazia, amongst others, the Somaliland delegation expressed interest in UNPO’s presence as international observers.
Following the constructive meeting between the UNPO Secretariat and Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Ibrahim, UNPO looks forward to continue its efforts in raising awareness of the situation in Somaliland, a UNPO Member since 2004, at the international level.