From Statements of Uppsala Forum

M.A.Mohamed Salih & Lennert Wohlgemuth (eds.)

August 1994, pp. 83-86.


Scandinavian Institute of African Studies

Independent Somaliland

By Muse Bihi Abdi

I am a Government Minister of a country which, at the highest levels of the international community, is totally ignored. This would not matter if the Republic of Somaliland were like the Republic of Singapore – healthy and wealthy – but it does matter when, through no fault of our own, our country has been devastated and our people crippled by the actions of a tyrant. We need to shout louder than most to make ourselves heard, for we need help to rebuild our shattered country.

News of what we have achieved since the removal of Siyad Barre has fallen on deaf ears in the UN. In his various reports to the Security Council, Secretary-General Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali has not made even a passing reference to the achievements of Somaliland. In his last report, he referred to the five-month-long Borama Conference as a conference to settle some minor tribal differences. What minor tribal differences had he in mind? A code of peace and security? A comprehensive Charter for the nation? An institutionalized bicameral legislature? A new Government and an elected President of the Republic of Somaliland? Are these minor tribal differences?

This is a grotesquely misleading representation of our painstaking efforts to secure peace and to rebuild our nation, efforts undertaken at our own expense and not at the enormous costs incurred by the UN in Mogadishu. It calls into question the quality of reporting from UNOSOM II in Mogadishu, for it is their reports that form the basis of those drafted by the UN Secretariat for Dr. Boutros-Ghali. I seek to correct this demeaning account of our endeavors: endeavors to right the terrible wrongs of the past, to restore our institutions, to rebuild what has been destroyed, to knit our country together.

In the nineteenth century, the first formal treaties were signed by the sovereign leaders of the people of Somaliland, who sought political protection from the British Government as a quid pro quo for the export of their livestock, which Britain needed at its coaling station in Aden. In 1960, Britain relinquished its sovereignty over Somaliland, creating the independent State of Somaliland. Driven by patriotism, the State of Somaliland entered into a merger with the UN Trust Territory of Somalia, although no Act of Union was signed.

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