Mar 16, 2023

UNPO's President explains Somaliland's path to statehood at the European Parliament

On 8 March 2023, the Republic of Somaliland was invited by the MEP and former Catalan president, Carles Puidgemont, to share their path to statehood in a conference entitled "Africa 21st century: Old and new borders, federalism and self-determination.” The event took place at the European Parliament, where several African states discussed their journey in implementing the right to self-determination. Among them, the cases of Somaliland and the Democratic Republic of Congo were introduced and explained to the public.

Edna Adan Ismail, president of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), former foreign minister and Somaliland special envoy shared the history of the Horn of Africa and the current state of the country through its successes and obstacles. Known as the “Mother of Somaliland”, she was chosen to represent the country due to her long career and her loyal commitment to peace building. Edna Adan has been the most important voice in the fight for Somaliland’s recognition as an independent state.

During her speech, Edna Adna Ismail spoke about Somaliland’s economic, diplomatic, and social advancement, which has allowed the Republic to be known as “the most stable, peaceful and advanced country in the Horn of Africa, despite not being recognized as an independent state by the international community.” The Former foreign minister also pointed out the issues Somaliland is suffering from, due to the lack of international recognition, namely: the confusion between Somaliland and Somalia, or the absence of Somaliland on crucial topics.

Despite all the obstacles, Edna Adna Ismail expressed optimism for Somaliland: “We hope that this light that shines on Somaliland will herald a new dawn that will bring justice to the people of Somaliland, who have a right to be heard, to be seen, and to be recognized as responsible members of the international community. We have never been part of Africa’s problems.”

UNPO's president also took the opportunity to publicly call on the Somali government to engage in a peace dialogue: “Finally, as we have done for the past 32 years, we, in Somaliland, continue to extend a friendly hand to our neighbors in Somalia for the initiation of a serious dialogue to find a peaceful resolution to our differences, so that our people may, at last, find peace on both sides of our common border.”

The speech was followed by a Q&A session with the audience, which illustrated the growing interest in the topic of Statehood and particularly in the case of the Somaliland Republic.