Recent press reports indicate that Turkey has appointed its ex-ambassador to Mogadishu as mediator of Somaliland/ Somalia peace talks, which have stagnated since the current President of Somalia, Mr Farrajo, came to power. It is worth noting that Turkey has previously facilitated several rounds of preliminary, trust-building talks. The two Somali parties have joined into a Union in 1960 following the independence of Somaliland from Great Britain and Somalia from UN Trusteeship under the management of Italy. However, in 1991, the people of Somaliland have declared their independence and walked away from what they saw as failed union, following 21 years of neglect and marginalization and eventually mass-killing and genocide of its people and destruction of its cities by the brutal dictatorship of Siyad Barre.
Notwithstanding the bitterness we feel toward the South and their inhuman treatment of our people, and despite our strong belief of the unquestinalbe, God-given right that we have in determining our fate, we still welcome the engagement of Turkey or any other peace-loving nation in resolving the question of Somaliland Independence through peace settlement and in civilized manners.
However, this time, the appointment of Turkey’s ex-ambassador in Mogadishu as the sole mediator of the talks is indeed a gross over-simplification of an evidently complex international problem, that requires the efforts of Group of Leading nations with proven credentials in resolving similar international questions.
This time, the two sides should engage in real negotiations of “The independent declared by Somaliland in 1991” in light of the International Law, and Universal Rights of Self-determination etc. The Modus Operandi of the talks should be governed by International Standards aimed at arriving at peaceful and negotiated settlement of the problem.
In this context, the International Community should remember that, in 1960, the people of Somaliland represented by ONLY 33 elected Parliamentary members have sanctioned a union with the South. Following a referendum held in 2000, the same Somaliland with a population of about 4m have overwhelmingly (97%) voted for the birth of independent Republic of Somaliland and the demise of the ill-fated Union with Somalia.
Finally, the International Community should STOP the double standards being applied to the resolution of the Somaliland Question. The world has previously witnessed similar unions founded and resolved, and ours is not different from the previous entities that have disintegrated due to failure and incompetence. Egypt & Syria, Senegal & Gambia, Pakistan & Bangladesh, East Timor & Indonesia. And at last, Great Britain is currently leaving the EU and nobody is making fuss; why is Somaliland’s proclamation of its 135 years-old independence is being dubbed a World Taboo.
Hassan Abdi Yousuf
Riyadh Saudi Arabia
01 January 2019