Somaliland and Somalia Talks are at Dead-End


Dr Yusuf Dirir Ali

Somalilandsun – I strongly believe that Somalia was in constant pressure from the international community to resolve the Air space issue with Somaliland, otherwise, they wouldn’t have given up the control of their Air space as easy as they did and I also believe that our negotiators have caved in to the tactics of Somalia’s team. I am sure, had they played their cards right, they could have effortlessly come home with the management of our Air Space and without having Somalia strings attached to it.

One other reason why Somalia agreed to the joint management of the Air Space could be for the sole benefit of creating ‘Juha’s nail in Somaliland’ as Mr. abdulaziz Al-Mutairi has well explained in his article ‘Somalia Juha’s Nail in Somaliland’.

I sincerely believe that Somaliland negotiators are honest and I also have no doubt in my mind that they are patriotic Somalilanders, who are working hard to do their best for their country and people. However, I do not think they were equipped enough to carry the burden of a mission of that importance and magnitude. I honestly think that they were simply punching way above their weights.

One simple proof is that they do not comprehend the importance of the terminology they are using. I have watched some members of that team on TV referring to Somaliland and Somalia as “Somalia” instead of saying “former Somali Republic”. Once you referred Somaliland as part of former Somalia, you have then lost the game and confused the IC . As matter of fact, Somaliland was not a part of Somalia, but it was part of the Somali Republic. We must strongly set the record straight and reject the notion that Somaliland is/was a part of Somalia, Because it is wrong and its the sole reason the IC is facilitating the Somaliland and Somalia dialogue.

One can argue, the Somalia team is also as equally weak as Somaliland’s team. In that case my response will be, we shouldn’t disarm if our opponent run out ammunition to put us to death. Defeating your opponent is the essence of the game and specially when your opponent is as crooked as Somalia is.

One other point is, you can not go into any negotiations unless the other party acknowledges your existence. How can anyone in his own mind submissively agree to sit and negotiate with someone that hates him/her to the extent that he denies the present and historic facts of his/her existence? For instance, take the Israeli-Arab negotiations, Israel refused to talk directly with the Arabs, including Palestine before the Arabs recognized Israel and our case is not that different. That is just one familiar case, but all negotiations between countries do not commence unless they agree to recognize each other as equals. Recognition of the sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland should and must be the start of any talks with Somalia.

We are not asking Somalia to recognize our De Facto status as it was wrongfully articulated by one member of the Somaliland negotiations team on national TV, because De Facto is our current international status. On the other hand, we are fighting for De Jure recognition and nothing less. That means no more talks with Somalia about observership seats in the international organizations through Somalia and we should directly apply to the international organization and not seek Somalia’s permission.

Somaliland must consider filing a legal case to recover its rightful membership in the UNO, since Somaliland was the mother-nation of the Somali Republic. We must exert pressure on the UK government both here in the UK and back home to reaffirm our recognition since it was the first country that recognized Somaliland’s sovereignty. Moreover, thousands of Somalilanders fought and died defending the British Empire and now is the time for UK to stand up for Somaliland’s sovereignty and repay Somaliland’s debt.

We must take a more aggressive approach in the international media and use everything we can to present our case not only to governments around the world, but also to the regular citizens of all countries. One way of achieving this will be inviting all the other international facilitators of the Somaliland and Somalia dialogue to the next round of talks, so then they can bear witness to Somalia’s procrastinations, which are the cause for the lack of progress in the talks. To achieve this, we need the right people in our team, who will be able to plan ahead and accomplish the mission successfully.

Hopefully, the President and incoming Foreign Minister will completely reconfigure the negotiating team and invite seasoned Lawyers, academicians and Somaliland historians to future negotiating team. I would like to suggest few names like Ibrahim Hashi Jama, Ahmed Ismail Samater, Raqia Oomar, Adan Bahnaan, Ret. ambassador Osman Ahmed Hassan and John Drysdale.

Prolonging the negotiations is not to the advantage of either Somaliland or Somalia, we are already in Cul-de-sac and we are adamantly sure that the negotiation will go nowhere. So why waste more time?

The longer these negotiations continue Somalilanders will lose more precious time to go on with their lives and Somalia will have more difficulty in creating future sisterly relations with Somaliland. At the same time, Somaliland will not be able to help Somalia achieve peace and stability. Watching Somalia’s blight is very painful and despite all the denials of the current regime in Somalia, the security situation in Somalia is getting worst by the hour and that can not be watched to deteriorate even further.

Finally, I understand that both the President and the incoming foreign Minister have more experience and wisdom than I do, but still, I wanted to express my view publicly and I consider this to be part of my civic duty.