For the second time this year President Muse Bihi Abdi will meet Somalia leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in a bid to unlock impasse between Somaliland And Somalia, amid mounting pressure from international partners.
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Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh has confirmed the meeting between Somaliland and Somalia leaders. According to him, the two leaders are set to meet later today in neighboring Djibouti.
In essence, the meeting is in line with the resuscitation efforts of the stalled Somaliland-Somalia Talks which was last held on the 2nd of March, 2015.
The meeting, according to publicized bits and pieces about this fresh bout of the talks, was called for by the United States in the person of its Ambassador in Mogadishu, Donald Yamamoto, and facilitated by a beleaguered Djibouti leader, Ismail Omar Guelleh.
According to Djibouti Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation a document stating the meeting to be held Sunday 14th (today) which is described as one of consultation, presented its complements to the EU Delegation in Djibouti, hence informing them that the country’s President H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh would be chairing the summit.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who earlier this year, made a face-to-face brief meeting between President Bihi and President Farmajo at his office in Addis Ababa, also been invited to the meeting along with international observers from the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the African Union.
In a tweet on his Twitter handle, President Guelleh said, “Tomorrow in Djibouti, I will chair a meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and President Muse Bihi Abdi to follow up on the mediation efforts between the two leaders. I have also invited Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to attend the discussions.”
Tomorrow in Djibouti, I will chair a meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and President Moussa Bihi Abdi to follow up on the mediation efforts between the two leaders. I have also invited Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to attend the discussions.
— Ismail Omar Guelleh (@IsmailOguelleh) June 13, 2020
Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and his delegation are expected to travel today, Sunday 14th June 2020. Among his delegation are the Speaker of the Upper House of the Somaliland bi-cameral parliament, Suleiman Mohamoud Adan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor Yassin Mohamoud Hiir ‘Faratoon’, Minister for Trade and Tourism, Mohamoud Hassan Sachin, and the Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Saeed Sulub Mohamed.
For his part, the Somalia leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will be accompanied by the Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, Speaker of the Lower House of the Federal Parliament Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman and Minister of Interior Affairs Abdi Mohamed Sabriye.
Somaliland recaptured its independence from Britain in 1960 and later united with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali republic but that unity did not last long following atrocities committed to the people of Somaliland by the rogue regime of Siyad Barre. Thousands of “Somalilanders” died in the 80s. Since 1991, the two sides have been operating independently, with Somaliland restoring it’s independence from Somalia.
Ties between the two sides became frosty once current Somaliland and Somalia leaders came to power.
The convening of this meeting is being backed by the international community to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding between Somaliland and Somalia after years of stranded relations.
Another reports indicate that president Bihi of Somaliland will travel to Djibouti for the tripartite summit for the Horn of Africa, which both Farmajo and Abiy Ahmed will also attend.
Last month, the United Nations hailed the February meeting between Farmajo and Bihi, arguing that it was a tremendous step towards achieving long-lasting peace and stability in Somalia.
The meeting between the two protagonists, Antonio Guterres said, was a “positive step” towards peace efforts for Somaliland and Somalia, which have had strained relationships, including “unnecessary” embargos that affect the almost homogeneous composition of their population.
After the February Addis Ababa meeting, Farmajo issued a public statement in which he “acknowledged atrocities” committed by the previous regime, which Guitteres now terms as a “bold and honest” approach towards the world’s most unsolved crisis.
“I commend President Farmajo for issuing a public statement acknowledging past human rights violations by the Siyad Barre regime, and President Bihi for accepting the gesture,” read Guitteres’ speech that was delivered in UNSC.
From these gains, the UN chief added, both leaders should devise a strategy of reviving the dialogue which seems to have after all stalled, due to undeniable suspicions that have existed between Hargeisa and Mogadishu for decades.
“I call upon both leaders to build upon this engagement to improve relations and make progress towards a resumption of the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia,” he noted.
Similar calls for dialogue have also been pushed by the European Union, another key stakeholder in Somalia, which is responsible for ongoing stabilization programs. EU envoy Nicolas Berlanga has been one of the committed mediators.
Last month, the EU special envoy Somaliland/Somalia noted the need for mutual cooperation between Somaliland and Somalia following a video conference with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, adding that there is a need to reach agreements expeditiously “to settle the problem of its citizens and fulfill” their aspirations.
“The EU Delegation hopes the meeting becomes a first step to embrace common gains in which all may prosper through dialogue; and the release of emotion retained for a long time. Doors of hope for agreement should not close again,” Berlanga tweeted yesterday.
The EU Delegation hopes the meeting becomes a first step to embrace common gains in which all may prosper through dialogue; and the release of emotion retained for a long time. Doors of hope for agreement should not close again. https://t.co/yyKyDyJi41
— Nicolas Berlanga (@NBerlangaEU) June 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Somaliland President hosted on Saturday, Somaliland opposition parties, along with other major political players, to brief them of the impending dialogue.
Following that meeting, Deputy Chairman, Abdirizak Khalif of Waddani, wholeheartedly welcomed the resumption of the talks expressing reservation only in, as he expressed, the event that the President meandered out of his mandated executive leadership parameter.
The position of the #waddani Party: The law allows the president and the government to negotiate with Somalia to achieve recognition, but we confirm to Somaliland's independence is what the constitution is based on pic.twitter.com/51po4qRR9E
— Muj Sarah (@waddani_5) June 13, 2020
He noted that the party recognized the state’s mandate to do negotiations on behalf of the republic.
He gave a re-cup of the subsequent talks held up to the time it stalled hence noted that the WADDANI Party gave the President and his entourage their blessing in their endeavors to negotiate on behalf of the nation and its people, as per the constitution laid and in line with the country’s aspirations.
He however noted that while the President informed them about the meeting hence sought their views, they were not availed with the immediate agenda of the meeting.
Abdirazak said that the President would thereafter inform the parties and the nation at large on the outcome of the summit. He said that the constitution gave the State the mandate to run its affairs.
The President has reiterated several times that the talks, once started, should have IC observers at hand as umpires or lenders of guidance as intermediaries.
In contrast, Faisal Ali Warabe, leader of UCID party, castigated the President for accepting a Farmajo meet at this juncture of time.
Faisal reasoned his stand by pointing out that the Somalia government was, in fact, fragmented into six governments including the Villa Somalia Mogadishu seat, and that President Farmajo and his international allies were using the occasion to bolster the waning popularity of a president gearing up for a presidential election only six months or so away.
If and when the two sides meet – if it goes beyond the preliminaries, the Somaliland electorate expects only one outcome: that Somalia concedes the legitimate restoration of Somaliland sovereignty and that future talks can only be resumed as two nations discussing mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Somaliland electorate overwhelmingly approved its sovereignty-based national constitution in 2001.
Somalia, on the other hand, wants to look good and tough and that it comes out of the meeting victorious over a vanquished Somaliland which was made to accept a subservient, federal state-level position – as the current deputy prime minister of Somalia, Mehdi Guleid, partially voices here. Mehdi is among so-called Somaliland-born officials who assumed roles with the Mogadishu government as mercenaries and economic opportunists.
According to the deputy vice-president of Somalia @KhadarGulaid. Somalia’s president will be committing political suicide if he recognizes #Somaliland as an independent country. pic.twitter.com/9SUkWWxoZO
— Nabad iyo Caano (@VancitySam) June 13, 2020