Somaliland: Foreign Minister Visits Brussels
In an exchange of views with the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, the Foreign Minister of Somaliland, Dr. Mohamed A. Omar, discussed a range of issues including piracy and Somaliland’s efforts to combat it, EU cooperation and aid, and security issues in the Horn of Africa.
Below is an article published by the Somaliland Press:
The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, Dr Mohamed A. Omar, today [21 March 2012] had a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
In his statement to the Committee, Dr Omar drew attention to the contrasting fortunes of Somaliland and Somalia since the former declared independence in 1991. He spoke of “the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Somaliland through a painstaking process of reconciliation at the local level. At the same time, governance collapsed in Somalia, leading directly to the problems confronting the Horn of Africa today, namely terrorism, piracy, and hunger.”
Dr Omar declared that: “Somaliland has recently re-engaged with the international community, in order to play its part in solving the ongoing challenges in neighbouring Somalia. Last month’s London Conference represented an important milestone in Somaliland’s diplomacy.”
The Foreign Minister continued that: “the international community’s focus on an inflexible and unrealistic notion of Somalia’s so-called territorial unity endangers the very stability that we are all looking for. Focusing energy on the re-creation of a centralized state through a top-down approach ignores the realities on the ground, which are dictated by the decentralized nature of Somali politics.”
Dr Omar added: “We offer a compelling example of peaceful and democratic nation-building through a bottom-up approach, drawing on tried and tested African methods designed to defuse disputes between neighbouring communities.” Dr Omar continued: “We believe that a similar approach is needed in Somalia too, and we have offered to share our experience with our brothers and sisters in Somalia.”
Foreign Minister Omar made it clear that: “Somaliland would be in an even stronger position to contribute to a stable and peaceful Somalia if Somaliland is politically recognised internationally.” Aware that EU member states are significantly affected by Somali piracy, the foreign minister noted: “We are fully engaged with the international community in the fight against terrorism and piracy.”
The Foreign Minister drew attention to the Communiqué of the London Conference which supported “any dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG or its replacement may agree to establish in order to clarify their future relations.” This “reinforces Somaliland’s vision of a dialogue between two separate entities, Somalia and Somaliland, that can engage as equals, and marks a starting point for constructive discussions about the future relations between Somaliland and Somalia.”
Referring to the generous development and other assistance provided by Europe, Dr Omar stated: “Let me once again express the gratitude of the Government and people of Somaliland to the European Union and its member states for their continued support for my country.”
Dr Omar concluded by saying that: “political recognition of Somaliland’s independent statehood within the borders established by the European powers in the 19th century would reinforce Somaliland’s role as a beacon of peace and democracy in the Horn of Africa, and allow us to emerge as an even more effective partner for the region, for Europe, and the international community.”