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Talks between Somaliland-Somalia have officially opened in Djibouti, officiated by President Ismail Omar Guelleh as part of the first Djibouti brokered dialogue between President Muse Bihi Abdi and the FGS leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

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Apart from the leaders of Somaliland-Somalia, the venue where the talks have kicked off hosts the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, the President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh and UN, US and EU envoys to Somaliland/Somalia.

“The resumption of talks between the two leaders has been hailed as a step taken forward to further regional cooperation on several important forefronts by the United States government and the United Nations (UN).

“The resumption of the talks between Somalia and Somaliland is a perfect illustration of the continued determination of the leaders of the region to resolve differences through dialogue,” the Djibouti president, Ismail Omar Guelleh tweeted after the resumption of first meeting between the two delegations.

The US embassy in Mogadishu tweeted “US Embassy in Somalia welcomes opening of Somaliland-Somalia talks today in Djibouti. We commend the leadership of Muse Bihi and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Thank you President Ismail Omar Guelleh for hosting a historic meeting. We support cooperation for the good of the Somali people and urge all Somalis to be part of the process.”

Similarly, the official twitter account of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) tweeted “the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) welcomes talks between Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hosted by Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh. This is an encouraging step towards future dialogue, which we hope will result in common benefits.”

Somaliland delegation

A delegation from Somaliland, led by President Muse Bihi Abdi, has arrived in Djibouti after flying out of Hargeysa this morning.

The president and his delegation were warmly received by the Prime Minister of Djibouti Abdikadir Mohamed Kamil, Djibouti Foreign Ministers Mohamed Ali Yusuf, Agriculture, Water and Livestock, Mohamed Muse Awale aka Mohamed Somali and head of Somaliland liaison office to Djibouti, Abdifatah Said Ahmed.

The Somaliland delegation, which also includes the Speaker of the Upper House of the parliament (Guurti), Hon. Suleiman Mohamud Adan, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof. Yassin Haji Mohamud Hiir (Faraton); Finance Development, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, Livestock Development and Fisheries Development, Saeed Sulub Mohamed, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Mohamud Hassan Sa’ad Sajin, Special envoy, Ms. Edna Adan Ismail and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Bihi Yonis will attend talks with the Federal Government of Somalia in the capital Djibouti.

The talks will be mediated by President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopian PM

Earlier, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, who has put a lot of effort into resolving political disputes within the Horn of Africa Region and has been personally involved in efforts to reconcile Somaliland and Somalia, arrived in Djibouti.

Accordingly, Prime Minister Abiy and his delegation arrived in Djibouti City this morning to attend the summit.

Farmajo’s delegation

Separately, a delegation from the Federal Government of Somalia, led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and which includes Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, Interior Minister Abdi Mohamed Sabriye and several other officials, also arrived in Djibouti.

This will be the first serious negotiations between Somaliland and Somalia, since both Bihi of Somaliland and Farmajo of Somalia came to power in 2017.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, won independence in 1960 but days later joined with Somalia. In 1991, after years of war with the government in Mogadishu, it declared independence from the rest of the country.

While anarchic southern Somalia has been riven by years of fighting between multiple militia forces and Islamist violence, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace.

Despite the fact that the United Nations (UN) and the international community have never recognized it by insisting on the failed attempt to impose a single Somali state, Somaliland is de facto independent and if the talks are fruitful, relations with the neighboring state of Somalia, without undermining mutual independence.

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