Somaliland President Departs to UAE for Talks with his Somalia Counterpart
By: Yusuf M Hasan
BERBERA, Somaliland’s-SL top delegation for talks with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government-TFG has departed for the UAE venue.
The delegation led by the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo departed for the United Emirates Commercial hub of Dubai from Berbera international airport where he was seen off by a multitude of Somalilanders that included political, parliamentary, government and traditional leaderships.
The president’s sojourn to Dubai is related to the 2nd phase of the Somaliland-Somalia talks that will see the two presidents (SL-TFG) meet face to face for the first time in a span of two decades on the 29th June 2012 in a yet to be disclosed location in Dubai.
During a short press briefing at the Berbera airport VIP lounge president Silanyo thanked Somalilanders for their warm send-off while urging them to maintain prevalent co-existence thus continue nation building. He promised to be steadfast in citizens desire for statehood as he engaged the southerners in the imminent talks in Dubai.
This meeting between Presidents Silanyo and Sharif of Somaliland and Somalia respectively is as a result of the 21st June 2012 Chevening house declaration that was the product of a two days meeting between talks preparatory committees from SL and TFG that were shepherded by host Britain and the co-hosts of Norway and the European Union-EU.
President Silanyo’s delegation that includes ex-president and leader of UDUB party Hon Dahir Rayale Kahin, Ruling Kulmiye party leader Mr. Musa Bihi Abdi, Minister of Defence Hon Ahmed Haji Ali Adami, current 1st lady and former 1st lady Ms Amina Sh Mohamed Jirde “Weris” and Ms Huda Bharkad respectively is en-route to Dubai, to negotiate further the 8 points Chevening declaration.
The SL talks technical committee composed of the foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar, leader of opposition political party of UCID Hon Feisal Ali Warabe, MP Bashe Mohamed Farah- 1st Deputy speaker of parliament, Ministers of the presidency and that of Labour & Social Affairs Hon Hirsi Ali and Hon Mahmoud Ahmed Barre (Garaad) is already in the Emirati city of Dubai having left directly to prepare the 2nd phase of the talks termed historic by president Silanyo.
The talks between the two countries that were 2 decades overdue ensued following the dictates of article six and 10 of the final communiques issued after the February London and June Istanbul II conferences on Somalia respectively.
Though the talks are entering the second phase in Dubai, Somaliland has remained steadfast in its assertion that its sovereignty is irrevocable thus not an agenda in whatever phase of the talks. As per the TFG which has slightly toned its stand, following the preparatory committee London talks at Chevening house, its main interest has been reunification negotiations.
During festivities to mark the 52nd anniversary of independence from Great Britain held at the presidency in Hargeisa on the 26th June, 2012, president Silanyo informed that the two neighbouring countries of Somaliland and Somalia are tied by common interests while firmly reasserting his country’s sovereignty by telling Somalilanders that “Talks or no Talks our Sovereignty is neither for discussion nor Compromise”
In the Independence Day speech president Silanyo also urged the international community to finally concur with the wishes of Somalilanders as pertains to self-rule after they revoked union with Somalia at Burao in 1991 as well as indicated by their 97% yes vote for separation during the 2001 referendum.
Said he, “Following the costly reclamation of our independence and in view of Somalilanders desire for self-rule, we do hereby ask the world to respect our people’s decision and recognize Somaliland as a free country with full membership at the United Nations”
In this context the president of Somaliland is to meet on 29th June 2012 in Dubai, face to face with Somalia’s president Sheikh Sharif for historic talks whose outcome only time and time alone will tell.
CHEVENING HOUSE DECLARATION
1. Following the commitments in the London and Istanbul communiqués that the international community would support dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (or its replacement) and
Somaliland to clarify their future relations, the two sides met at a technical level on 20‐21 June at Chevening.
2. The meeting was hosted by the UK and co‐hosted by Norway and EU, at the request of the two sides.
3. The purpose of these preparatory talks was to establish a framework for future substantive talks.
4. The participants of the meeting welcomed the opening of a dialogue and emphasized their commitment to the continuation of these talks.
5. The participants:
(i) Agreed that the talks would take place between two sides ‐ the TFG (or its replacement) and Somaliland, in accordance with paragraph 6 of the London Conference Communiqué and paragraph 10 of the Istanbul II Conference Communiqué;
(ii) Noted the need to adopt a common approach to avoid anything that would undermine the continuation of the talks as defined above;
(iii) Committed to the continuation of the talks and called on the two presidents to meet to review progress as soon as possible;
(iv) Called on the international community to continue to facilitate the talks, including providing the two sides with external experts on legal, economic and security matters;
(v) Agreed to share experience on working more effectively with the international community on the use of development and humanitarian assistance for the people of both sides and called for the
International community to increase that assistance;
(vi) Agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism and serious crime;
(vii) Agreed to cooperate in the fight against piracy at sea and on land, maritime crime, illegal fishing and toxic dumping; and
(viii) Reiterated their support for ending the Transition in Somalia.