Jan 22, 2015

Somaliland: Government Officials Meet European Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs

The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and for National Planning of Somaliland met the EP Foreign Affairs Committee at the European Parliament on Tuesday 20 January 2015. The issue of the recognition of the country was on top of the agenda, although the EU made it clear that it is up to individual Member States to recognise the independence of other countries.

Photo courtesy of Paco [email protected]

Below is an article by the Somaliland Press:

Somaliland Foreign Minister Hon Mohamed Bihi Yunis, Minister of National Planning Dr.l Sacad Ali Shire, Dr. Edna Aden and Somaliland representatives to UK and Brussels met with the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday 20 January 2015.

The Somaliland delegation and the EU Foreign Affairs Committee discussed a wide of matters with the recognition issue topping the agenda at meeting which took place in Brussels, Belgium.

Somaliland FM Hon Mohamed Bihi Yunis speaking during the meeting briefed the EP Foreign Affairs Committee on Somaliland’s recent history beginning since independence 1960 and the ill-fated union with south Somaliland to the time Somaliland broke away from the union with the Somali military government led by Siyad Barre back in May 1991. Somaliland has overcome many hurdles with major rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure starting from bottom after everything was completely destroyed including shelters, schools, hospitals, roads as well as other buildings in almost every city in the country.

Hon Bihi told the Foreign Affairs Committee that it is time to open a new chapter with Somaliland; the latter has been waiting for a long time for the organization to see the facts on the ground and accept Somaliland as a sovereign and independent nation.

Dr Sacad Ali Shire, Somaliland Minister of National Planning, also speaking during the meeting, said that since its declaration of independence in 1991, Somaliland has been steadily laying the foundations of a democratic “modern State”.

Dr Edna Aden also among the dignitaries addressing the EU Foreign Affairs Committee, began by presenting Somaliland’s quest for self-determination, which began when Somaliland gained independence in 1960 and the short period as an independent nation and to the times of the ill-fated, the genocide committed by the Said Barre regime back then to when Somaliland withdrew from this ill-fated union.

It was of the view that while it is the primary responsibility of the authorities and people of Somaliland to make efforts to acquire political recognition from the international community, the EU should be disposed to judge the case of Somaliland from an objective historical viewpoint and a moral angle vis-à-vis the aspirations of its people.

In September 2014, UKIP MEP James Carver wrote to the Commission asking whether they would recognise another Islamic State: that of Somaliland. In October they replied, saying that “the EU does not have the competency to recognise States, only individual members do.”

It continued: “A permanent solution to the status of Somaliland should be reached through negotiations between the authorities of Somaliland and the Federal Government of Somalia. It is paramount to find a solution which is acceptable to both parties. […] The EU does not seek to influence the outcome of this process”.

Somaliland has its own Constitution and has already held two presidential and three local government elections in what international observers termed as the most free and fair electoral process in the whole of Africa, not to mention 97% of its people voted YES during the referendum held in 2001.

Also present during the meeting were Somaliland representatives to Brussels and London and prominent businessman Mr Abdikadir Hashi Elmi, the owner of Mansoor group of Hotels.