The Republic of Somaliland has applauded the changes being recorded in Horn of Africa since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took his office in particular.
In his exclusive interview with Walta Television, Somaliland’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ahmed Hassan Egal, said that a dramatic change is being registered in Ethiopia in particular and the Horn of Africa as a whole.
He added that the change that Prime Minister Abiy brought has broken mountains that were barriers between countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea, reconciliation of South Sudan and Eritrea and Djibouti. “We expect the Premier to point fingers to Somalia and Somaliland as well.” The Ambassador noted.
Somaliland is intensively working to scale up cooperation with the new Head of Somali Regional State as there are many common pulling attractions amongst peoples’ of the country and the regional state. As many Somalilanders are living in Ethiopia, there are a number of Ethiopian citizens in Somaliland as well; Somaliland gives protections to Ethiopians to feel like home with an open border movements, he added.
In connection with the issue of intergrating other African countries the Ambassador said: “I don’t know when, but the ‘United States of Africa’ will be realized. In this regard Ethiopia is doing well towards African integration. Ethiopia is currently a hub of Africa; therefore, for anything happening in Africa Ethiopia should be the center of it.”
Ethiopia considers growth and development of neighboring countries to own a complete growth; in this aspect, Ethiopia and Somaliland have long standing bilateral relations and working cooperatively for further success in their respective countries.
The Ambassador added that Ethiopia has given a chance to Somaliland to embark on bilateral relations and it’s going commendable steps for a new chapter so that the other world can see changes in Somaliland.
According to Ambassador Ahmed Hassan Egal, South Sudan and Eritrea are recognized by the UN; in the same pattern, Somaliland should be considered as self-governing country by the international community as the country fulfils all the requirements. The Ambassador is optimistic that the country will be given recognition as his country is working at its best.
“We hope Ethiopia will be the first country to tell the world that Somaliland has the right to be recognized.” The ambassador underlined.
Ethio-Somaliland bilateral relations
The relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia is very strong and growing. Ethiopia uses the Berbera port for some of its import and export business. Besides, the relationship between Ethiopia and Somaliland in areas of security, economic, trade engagement and educational cooperation is growing.
Ethiopian Airlines, the National Bank of Ethiopia, some private universities and other businesses are working in Somaliland.
During a discussion of President Musa Bihi Abdi with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on October 2017, the two leaders have underlined that the relationship in areas of security, economic, trade engagement and educational cooperation is important.
With a partnership with foreign investors, specifically from the United Arab Emirates, it inaugurated the Berbera Port at a cost of USD 442 million. Ethiopia obtained a 19 percent share of the port in 2017. It was envisioned that the new port will be used as a regional trading hub.
Recognition of Somaliland
In the 27 years since, Somaliland has continued to call for recognition. It has maintained stability. It has held elections. It has its own flag, parliament, currency, national identity. It has also developed on various economic and social measures.
According to Ambassador Ahmed Hasssan Egal, Somaliland believes that Ethiopia will take the lead to recognize Somaliland so that the other world can follow Ethiopia’s decision.
Although not recognized as a sovereign state, Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.
Somaliland, with a population of about 4 million, can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system and is appreciated for holding credible elections.
Although Somaliland has achieved significant results in coping with political violence, terrorism and piracy, the lack of recognition impediment its economic and political future. Non-recognition has also impacted the status of women, since it might open the opportunity of influence from ultra conservative and fundamentalist forces. The stability of the region is essential for securing development, respect for human rights and the effective fight against of terrorism, human trafficking and piracy.
Ambassador Ahmed Hassan Egal underscored that the admirable progress the country has already made, as well as the increasing support they are receiving from the international community; the recognition of Somaliland is an essential part in the positive development of the country and the region as a whole.
More about Somaliland
The Republic of Somaliland is a self-declared state, internationally considered to be an autonomous region of Somalia.
The Somaliland government and most of the people consider themselves as independent state, however in reality the status of the region has been hanging in limbo since it split from Somalia.
Somaliland lies in northwestern Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by the remainder of Somalia (per international recognition) to the east, Djibouti to the northwest, and Ethiopia to the south and west. Its claimed territory has an area of 176,120 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), with approximately 4 million residents. The capital and the largest city is Hargeisa, with the population of around 1,500,000 residents.
In 2001, 97% of the citizens of Somaliland voted on the new constitution which cited Somaliland as an independent sovereign country and separate from Somalia. Although the polling was monitored by international observers and was held in accordance with legal regulations, not a single country recognized Somaliland as a country.