Barely settled in office as President of Ethiopia’s Somali State, Mustafa Omar ‘Cagjar’ makes the greatest possible diplomatic blunder by referring to Somaliland as one of many places terrorists are hatching plots to harm Ethiopia and his region.
“There those who are in Somaliland, Puntland and Jubbaland who are still plotting bomb attacks and other terrorist acts for us against whom we should remain vigilant,” he said, speaking – as reported – at a ‘state’ function where high-ranking government and security officers were present at a time the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, Michael Raynor, was touring the region.
“Seeking the good offices of Interpol and other international security agencies, we will look on ways to deal with the issue,” he added.
His Excellency the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, Yassin Mohamoud Hiir ‘Faraton’, currently on a visit to Kenya where he took part at the Somaliland-Kenya Investment Forum, Friday, said he and his government was taken aback by the harmful, spurious remarks Mr. Cagjar.
“The world knows where Somaliland stands on terrorism, and that it had never been associated with the acts he referred to. Up to this point, we are not sure whether the man intended to intentionally slap Somaliland with an association with terrorism which is far from the truth or that it was a slip he made at an unguarded moment,” Minister Faraton said.
“In either case, we view it as a grave, injurious mistake which needs to be explained in full,” he said.
“There was only one major terrorist attack against Somaliland institutions for the past 27 years, and that is on record,” he said.
The Minister also expressed how disappointed he was that Mustafa Cagjar equates the Republic of Somaliland with the federal Somalia states of Puntland and Jubbaland.
For over 27 years, to date, Somaliland security forces and its public stood guard over the long border with Ethiopia saving Ethiopia incalculable monetary and manpower resources which it would have otherwise employed to secure it.
Following the collapse of the Somali State government, it was Somaliland that gave safe haven to Ethiopian nations both in life and property, returning, when things calmed down, more than a dozen vehicles stolen from the State government.
Mr. Cagjar’s slur follows another intentional blunder he made recently against Somaliland by sending armed contingents of his Liyu Police and so-called units of traditional elders into Somaliland soil without so much as ‘by your permission’.
Ironically, Ms Harriet Baldwin, Minister of State at Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Department for International Development, also responsible for Africa affairs, has lauded Somaliland at the House of Commons’ Question Time for its relentless efforts to clean the area of terrorist threats, following up on a visit she made to Somaliland on October 7..
Both Meles Zenawi and Haile-Mariam Deselagn respected the unrecognized but fiercely independent republic for qualities which included its relentless commitment to bilateral cooperation at the head of which was always SECURITY.
This view, as reflected by both Cagjar and his Prime Minister, seems to have changed for the worse showing how row and uninformed the two were in diplomatic matters and/or in maintaining cordial relations with long-standing friends and neighbors such as Somaliland.
The Somaliland government is expected to respond in a more formal, more pointed manner within the next 24 hours or so, copying all concerned.
With Abiy Ahmed at the helm of Federal Ethiopia, Mustafa Cagjar at Somali State and Mohamed Farmaajo at Somalia, an already volatile region has, certainly, become more unpredictable. – a situation the world is slowly waking up to now.