Mar 14, 2011

Somaliland: Tense Relations Overshadow UN Meeting

During a high level UN meeting in Nairobi, Somali Health Minister storms out after realizing he shared the table with representatives from Somaliland. 

Below is an article published by Somalilandpress:

Somalia’s transitional health minister Dr. Adam Haji Ibrahim stormed out of a Special High Level Meeting on Somalia that was conveyed by the United Nations in Nairobi this week.

The minister became furious and upset when he learned that he was sharing the same table with representatives from Somaliland’s ministry of health.

The mini-summit was attended by officials from the UN, WHO, UNICEF, number of donor nations and representatives from Somalia’s Puntland region. Somaliland was invited to the meetings by Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General.

The minister claims he walked out of the panel discussion in protest the United Nations’ new policy towards Somaliland. He proclaimed the UN policy was illegal and he was the only the only legitimate representative for Somalia– claiming Somaliland is part of Somalia. However, his government does not control more than few blocks in Mogadishu and are kept on the lifeline by some 8,000 AU troops.

In recent months, donors and UN agencies have decided to more than double aid for Somaliland, this has angered many TFG ministers including the Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”.

In February [2011], the Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed A Omar participated in a meeting dubbed the “Wilton Park Conference” in West Sussex, UK, based on the theme “Somalia: Building stability, accepting reality”. In a spirit of goodwill, Dr. Omar shared Somaliland’s own experience of peace building and role in the region– his formal address to the conference infuriated the weak transitional government. Ever since, the TFG has been trying to avoid sharing the same venue with Somaliland.

Ministers in the transitional government have been also protesting about donor nations doubling their aid for Somaliland. Countless letters of protest and messages have flooded offices of number of donor nations.

The transitional government tried to block emergency food distribution this week in Somaliland for malnutrition children and pregnant mothers by WFP. The weak transitional government led by former cleric Sheikh Sharif wrote a number of protest letters using “civilians” while ordering people in areas they control in Mogadishu to demonstrate against WFP.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied through Waberi district in Mogadishu on Thursday [March 10, 2011] holding banners with messages such as: “WFP must leave the country,” and “We need the justice in distribution” referring to Somaliland.

WFP instead responded by trying to fulfill its duty and announced it was tripling its assistance for Somaliland while doubling efforts in Somalia’s Puntland region.
WFP is currently providing food assistance to more than 240, 000 people just in Mogadishu.

It requested $46 million to feed 1.2 million Somalis in Somaliland and Somalia for the next six months.

Equally the TFG has tried to block a number of medical reliefs for hundreds of sick women and children in Somaliland.

The weak government of Mogadishu is using a number of other fronts to deny assistance for Somaliland including airing images from Baidoa war in Somalia on Universal TV. While at the same time printing images from conflicts in Dafur Sudan and southern Somalia and distributing to tribal militants in Buhodle.

The international community has warned it would cut its lifeline unless it improves by August and added it would work with more functioning places such as Somaliland and Somalia’s Puntland region.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in two decades, and piracy has flourished off its coast. It receives hundreds of millions in aid and not a single dollar reaches Somaliland. The international community released its policy was not working and now a little handout is been given to Somaliland. The TFG and its supporters prefer to cut even the basics from women and children in Somaliland even though they claim its part of their “country”.