Somaliland: “Boycotting the London Somalia conference is Justifiable”


Dr Dirir talks to Somalilandsun on the Ankara communique and 7th May London conference on Somalia.

By: Yusuf M HasanSomalias Interior minister A Gulleid and Somalialnds foreign minister Dr M A Omar sign the Ankara Accords

Somalilandsun – The Ankara Communique and its seven points is a landmark milestone for Somaliland as it facilitated the official acknowledgement of Human rights abuses against Somalilanders by a sitting president of Somalia.

In an interview with Somalilandsun, Dr Yusuf Ali Dirir also says that the sharing of foreign funds between the countries does not necessitate the establishment of federal body to handle transactions while the boycott of the 7th May London conference was the right decision for the country.

Below are the verbatim excerpts of the interview

Is the Ankara Communique of advantage or disadvantage to Somaliland, Why?

I think it was an advantage for Somaliland, because we were able to present our case internationally and for the first in 53 years we got the unreserved guilt admission by the Somalia President of the atrocities committed against our people. The Somaliland delegation was able explain the reasons behind our resolution of the Somali Republic union based on moral and historic facts. In short Turkey and the rest of the world now understand that Somaliland was at the receiving end of socio-political, economic oppression that finally culminated to genocide. This was an emotionally moving and a factor of unpleasant surprise to the Turkish hosts as reported by a member of the Somaliland negotiation team.

How will the two entities share Intelligence, Training and funds as per the communique? Doesn’t this necessitate the establishment of a Federal body to facilitate the full implementation of the same?

I do not think sharing intelligence will necessitate “a federal body” and Federation was not, is not and will not be on the table. Even if the Somalia party tries to bring it to the table, I’m sure it will be rejected without any doubt. We share intelligence with many countries like Britain and the USA and it did not necessitate the formation of Federal body with them. Our position on our sovereignty is clear and its non-negotiable period.

What is your take on the assertions by Somalia MP Ali Khalif Galayd that by signing the Communique the Somalia president and his government recognized the existence of Somaliland as a sovereign country?

SomehowI agree with Ali Khalif on his take. . I think no one can dismiss the fact there was implicit recognition of Somaliland as an equal party to Somalia, but that was initiated by the IC in the first London conference. Let us not forget Somaliland and Somalia were called to have dialogue on their future relations. More interestingly, an accord was signed by two Ministers at the presence of three Presidents and there were no display of the Somalia flag in that event nor was the Somaliland displayed. In my opinion that takes us back to the late 1950s, when the Somali union was being discussed between the two non-dependent Somali territories that later formed the Somali Republic union.

Is Somaliland justified in boycotting the 7th May London conference on Somalia? Why?

I do not have a Cristal ball and do not know what conversations took place behind closed doors, but if Somaliland had no say in the agenda of the London conference,I beleive Somaliland has made the right decision , if the reasonable Somaliland president’s conditions in attending that conference were not respected but was metaphorically told to shut up and sit behind Hassan Sheikh. That is totally unacceptable to the people of Somaliland.

What are the consequences, Negative & Positive of President Silanyo’s refusal to accede to both UK (Cameron) and USA (Ms Sherman) requests to attend the conference?

I’m not entirely sure of the consequences, but hope the Somaliland President has explained the Somaliland position eloquently and convincingly to avoid antagonizing our closest allies. Anyways, I think we shouldn’t accept the unacceptable even if that will cost us losing financial assistance; at least, we stood our ground and have shown Somalia and the rest of the world that we are serious in demanding our national sovereignty.

Was the opening of the UK embassy a show of displeasure with Somaliland or a genuine diplomatic move?

Again, I do not know the intentions of the UK government, but I think they wouldn’t play childish games with Somaliland, since Somaliland doesn’t care whether Britain or any other country opens a makeshift embassy in Mogadishu. I am sure UK would have enticed Somaliland to attend the London conference in a better way. I think the whole story behind the UK Mogadishu embassy is to show the international community that Mogadishu is safe and open for business ahead of the London conference and I think the current UK government wants to take credit for stabilizing Somalia and show its successes where others failed by opening an embassy in Mogadishu, sending few soldiers to train Somalia soldiers and by holding conferences on Somalia in London. But I doubt the UK embassy staff will permanently stay there for long and this was poor showmanship.

Should the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue continued to be hosted by foreign governments or shifted to alternate venues in the two countries?

I think the Somaliland and Somalia conference must continue to be hosted in foreign countries so as not to give a wrong impression to our people that we are working on unity with Somalia and also false hope to the Somalia people. Finally, here is my take on the Somaliland and Somalia conference, I think the Somaliland government must convince the Somalia government to recognize our sovereignty and then after our international recognition we must then renegotiate our union – And Then we can tell them to go to hell!