As the 30th anniversary of Somaliland’s declaration of independence approaches in 2021, Hargeisa and Mogadishu have important unfinished business. While political realities likely dictate that they neither can nor should immediately grapple with the paramount issue between them – the question of Somaliland’s political status – they can take steps to avoid renewed escalation and pave the way for more sensitive political talks. With support from within the region and further afield, the parties might be able to initiate a technical dialogue focused on issues of mutual interest – such as countering terrorism and stimulating economic growth. These discussions ought to be convened by a neutral party – perhaps the AU – to avoid backlash from regional powers whose support can maximize chances of the dialogue’s success and whose opposition would almost surely spell its failure.
Nairobi/Brussels, 12 July 2019
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Appendix A: Map of Foreign Interests in the Ports of Somaliland and Somalia
Map of Foreign Interests in the Ports of Somalia and Somaliland