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Independent Somaliland seeks EU recognition

(credit: European Parliament)

(BRUSSELS2) Somaliland deserves your cooperation and wants its right to independence to be recognized, this is the main message from Mohamed Omar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of this autonomous republic of Somalia, delivered to the MEPs of the commission Parliamentary Foreign Affairs (AFET), Wednesday (March 21). An opportunity also for the minister to thank the European Union – “ the main funder » of the country – but also to recall how his country holds a strategic position in the Horn of Africa. He thus hopes that Europe will pay greater attention to cooperation not only in development but also in security and calls for the departure of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which nevertheless supports (at arm's length) the international community , and (less and less) the European Union.

An exception in the chaos of the region

In a region where chaos sometimes reigns, Somaliland is indeed an exception, both in terms of governance, development, and security as well as in the social domain. The elections are proceeding normally, with the transfer of power in 2010 having been monitored by international observers who did not detect any particular problem. The government "provides free primary education”, infant mortality has dropped from 152 to 50 o/oo in 20 years, etc., he explains. From this situation, the authorities of Somaliland claim the international recognition of their State.

Request for recognition of independence

Mohamed Omar reminded MEPs of this request for recognition of independence. This is not a “secession” but of the “dissolution of a failed union”. The clan elders of northern Somalia declared their independence and created the Republic of Somaliland in 1991. Such recognition would not only allow it to develop through access to international funds, but also to increase its influence in the struggle against piracy and terrorism in the region. “ Somaliland wants to play its part (inasmuch as) beacon of peace and security in the Horn of Africa ».

Recognition of the country at the international level would, for example, ensure that it is not included in the arms embargo against Somalia, which “ would strengthen its ability to control its waters and manage security threats like Al Shabaab”. If stability, peace and security are indeed the short-term objective, towards which Somaliland is already working successfully, independence remains " long-term goal », recalled Mohamed Omar.

An indispensable partner in the fight against piracy and terrorism

For the EU, having a stable partner in the region would be a considerable asset. “We are fully engaged with the international community in the fight against terrorism and piracy” declared the minister. Cooperation already exists with Somaliland, but Mohamed Omar regrets that this is not the case in the area of ​​security. For example, he calls for training of his country's forces.

Somaliland also has prisons, which are sorely lacking in the fight against piracy, and a transfer of prisoners from Seychelles to this country is already planned. Likewise, Somaliland is an important ally in the fight against terrorism. If the Al Shabaab movement is almost defeated around Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Mohamed Omar asks the question: “but where are they going? They're moving [...] perhaps towards the North, in the mountains of Somaliland”, thus suggesting a possible threat. Here too, he calls for closer collaboration in terms of security.

International recognition would also allow Somaliland to be part of the African Union (and therefore AMISOM), he argues. For the moment, the new State only asks for a “observer status” to the African Union.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) must leave

Somaliland minister poses in opposition to Somali TFG, “in place since 2004, for eight years”. "He is not a credible interlocutor“because he is asking for an extension of his mandate”at each deadline”. Mohamed Omar here agrees with the conclusions of the London Conference, which demands that the TFG make way for a new administration. Djibouti's road map, which provides for parliamentary elections and a constituent assembly by August, is a failure according to the minister, who does not see why we continue to negotiate with "an administration that will leave in a few months” (i.e., the GFT). And he calls for a dialogue “equals” between Somalia and Somaliland.

“Focusing on the re-creation of a centralized state through a top-down approach ignores the realities on the ground, which are dictated by the decentralized nature of Somali politics”. We must then take the example of Somaliland and the successes already proven. “We offer an indisputable example of a process of peaceful and democratic national construction based on tested African methods designed to resolve conflicts between neighboring communities..

“Good” rating

Ultimately, Somaliland received what could be called a “good mention” from MEPs who praised its stabilizing action, even if not all share as strongly the idea of ​​a dismemberment of Somalia and total separation (the separatism of Eritrea which obtained its independence from Ethiopia is still in some minds as the counter-example).

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One thought on “Independent Somaliland seeks EU recognition"

  • how to explain that more than three million humans who want to live in peace, they are sent to death in Mogadishu? While we have just divided Sudan, while there was no dilapidation of the country? It is necessary that the international community accepts the request of a peace-loving and democratic people.

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