Somaliland: EU Partnership, a Step Forward


Ref: SSE/Fr. b-036    STATEMENT  Somaliland and the EU: a step forward

Somalilandsun – In 1991 when, after a long and costly war, the Somali Republic disintegrated and Somaliland decided to revert back to its pre Somaliland-Somalia union independent status, Europe was dealing with the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

Europe laid the defunct Yugoslavia union to rest. In contrast, the United Nations (UN) and the international community decided in the case of Somaliland and Somalia to re-constitute the defunct union of the two countries. Two decades have passed since then, but the UN, the European Union (EU) and other elements of the international community are still unwittingly trying to put the former pre-1991 Somali Republic ‘Humpty Dumpty’ back together.

It is no surprise therefore that the Government of the Republic of Somaliland has decided not to attend the 16th September 2013 Brussels Conference for ‘Somalia’. Apart from the London 2012 Conference to which Somaliland was invited separately, Somaliland has never participated in any of the international conferences for ‘Somalia’ and the Brussels 2013 Conference on ‘Somalia’ was no different. The Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) fully support these decisions. Whilst we reject wholeheartedly the inclusion of Somaliland in a programme with Somalia, we welcome the EU’s decision to deal separately with the development needs of Somaliland under the ‘Special Arrangement for Somaliland’ (SAfS).

We believe that this Special Arrangement is a long overdue acknowledgment of the distinct and separate status of Somaliland and should mark the start of policies that better reflect the reality on the ground. We hope that similar bilateral (or multi-lateral) special arrangements for Somaliland would be extended to other issues, such as international travel and access to posts/telecommunications etc. until the current Somaliland and Somalia international talks are concluded and lead to an amicable formal confirmation of the end of the defunct union.

We are grateful to Dr Sa’ad Ali Shire, the Minister of National Planning, for the considerable work his Ministry has undertaken in putting together the Somaliland Vision 2030 and the Somaliland Development Plan on which the Special Arrangement is based; and we are pleased to note that the new Somaliland Foreign Minister and the Somaliland Government have adopted a clear and steadfast position in re-confirming Somaliland’s sovereignty.

The EU countries and the International Community are already aware that Somaliland is a redoubtable advocate for democracy and peace in the region and a proven partner in development and progress. We, the Somaliland Societies in Europe, have and will continue to work for closer and fruitful co-operation and links between the EU, individual European countries and Somaliland. We also look forward to the development of a more nuanced European approach to Somaliland-Somalia issues, and to the inevitable acceptance of Somaliland as a member of international community.


Abdourahman Yassin

Somaliland Societies in Europe (SSE) is an umbrella network of organisations representing about 45 Somaliland community organisations from 11 European countries. SSE has been a voice for Somaliland organisations in Europe since 2001.

Address for Correspondence: SSE, 13 Rue Jean Monnet, 64000 PAU, France

Phone (UK) 44 7870 515 334; France 33 689 831266

Email :