Mar 15, 2007

Somaliland: Striving for Better Arab Relations

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa announced plans to send a delegation to Somaliland in order to discuss past frozen relations between the two parties and a potential normalization of trade relations.

Below is an article published by Awdal News Network:

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa agreed to send a high-ranking delegation to Somaliland to end Somaliland’s isolation in the Arab world.

Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale said Mousa made the pledge in a meeting with him at African Summit in Addis Ababa early 2007.

In a telephone conversation with Awdalnews Network, Duale said that Somaliland had briefed Mousa on the situation of the country and on Somaliland’s irreversible decision on its secession from Somalia.

“We felt a new and positive attitude from the Arab League and we expressed our interest to break the ice in the frozen relations between our country and Arab countries,” he said, noting that Mousa saw the need to initiate a dialogue between Somaliland and the Arabs.

Somaliland, a former British Protectorate that had declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991, accuses Arab states of blocking its attempts to win African support for its case.

“We briefed Mousa on the irreparable damage that the continued Arab hostilities to Somaliland in the African Union conferences can do to Somaliland people’s historical ties with the Arab world,” Duale said, affirming the Secretary General’s consent to soften the Arab stance towards Somaliland, particularly Arab-African states such as Egypt and Sudan.

He urged Arab League to normalize trade relations with Somaliland, referring to a seven-year Saudi Arabian ban on the import of Somaliland livestock, which had a crippling effect on the country’s economy as livestock constituted the mainstay of Somaliland’s economy.

Duale also met with Arab League Rerpresentative [Representative] in AU earlier this week in Addis Ababa. The Arab League official also made a courtesy call on President Dahir Riyale Kahin during his stopoever [stop over] in Addis Ababa on his way home from Ghana.

The President and Minister Duale both stressed the need for the Arab League official to follow up the Secretary General's promise to enegage [engage] with Somaliland.

Duale who was a member of Somaliland delegation led by President Dahir Riyale Kahin that had participated in Ghana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Ghana, which is current Chairman of the AU, has given full Presidential treatment to the Somaliland President who attended all functions alongside other African leaders,” Duale said.  

Duale said that the AU’s Peace and Security Council would discuss Somaliland’s case during its upcoming meeting.