Somaliland Rejects UN Security Council’s Mischaracterization of the Illegal Occupation of Las-Anod

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The Government of Somaliland strongly objects to the blatant mischaracterization of the situation involving its city of Las-Anod in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2705, adopted on 31 October 2023 to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Its complete disregard for the actual circumstances in this region and Somaliland’s sovereignty threatens to undermine the Security Council’s central mission of maintaining international peace and security.

Since February 2023, clan militias supported by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and its Federal Member State of Puntland have illegally occupied the eastern Somaliland city of Las-Anod. On 7 June, the UN Security Council issued a statement on this matter, in which its members “called on all parties to exercise restraint and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement to violence and inflammatory rhetoric in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground, rebuild trust and to create the conditions for peace.”

Since the issuance of this statement, the clan militias – backed by Somalia, Puntland, and others – have repeatedly defied the Security Council’s directive. Most notably, in August the clan militias forcibly seized a Somaliland Military base 30 km from Las-Anod, inflicting and publicizing gross violations of human rights against Somaliland military personnel and civilians. They subsequently declared the formation of a so-called “interim administration” within this territory, an illegitimate action that on 19 October the Federal Government of Somalia formally welcomed and committed to support despite Somaliland’s historic and sovereign jurisdiction over the region.

Resolution 2705 fails to acknowledge these acts of defiance against the Security Council’s own directive and their severely destabilizing impact on the Horn of Africa. Instead, the resolution incorrectly cites efforts “undertaken by the FGS to pursue inter- and intra-clan reconciliation at the local, regional and national level towards the peaceful resolution of the dispute in Las’anod and the surrounding areas.” It also improperly refers to the Sool region of Somaliland, in which Laas-Anod is located, as a “region of Northern Somalia.” This complete mischaracterization of the hostile actions pursued and supported by the FGS and the use of nomenclature that defies existing borders, in a forum where Somaliland lacks a voice and vote, further advances a false narrative, and violates the core principles of the United Nations.

As previously stated, the Government of Somaliland firmly asserts that neither Somalia nor the clan militias have jurisdiction or claim over Las-Anod that they currently occupy. Somalia’s acceptance of the militia’s declaration is a deliberate attack on Somaliland’s statehood and territorial integrity within its 26 June 1960 borders, and on the peace and security it has fostered for over 30 years. It is alarming and perilously threatens the stability of our region.

Somalia’s unilateral measures to disrupt the status quo and support the illegal occupation of Somaliland’s territory contradict repeated calls by the United Nations, including in Resolution 2705, for all parties to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue toward a peaceful resolution of differences between the two governments. These actions will not be tolerated and must be condemned in the strongest terms by the international community.

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