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Issue 542/ 16th - 22nd June 2012
Somaliland: An Open Letter To The British Secretary Of State For Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Rt Hon William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles St
Dear Foreign Secretary,
I would like to take the opportunity of my imminent arrival in the United Kingdom to set out the views of the Government of Somaliland on the end of the transitional period in Somalia on 20 August, and to foreshadow my Governmentís approach to the upcoming talks between Somaliland and the TFG.
Somaliland has a strong interest in seeing stability re-established in our neighbor, Somalia. We therefore welcome the positive developments which have taken place there in recent months, including progress towards bringing the transition period to an end. At the same time, we pay tribute to the sacrifices made by AMISOM troops and to the important support of the international community, which have helped to bring this about.
Three decades after the voluntary union between the former British Protectorate of Somaliland and Italian Somalia in July 1960, Somaliland was driven to reclaim its independence from Somalia in 1991. This decision was not taken lightly. It followed the systematic discrimination and grave human rights abuses committed against our people by the Siyad Barre regime, and the ensuing war which saw the deaths over 50,000 of our citizens, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others, and the destruction of our capital, Hargeysa.
Since then, Somaliland has been successful in building peace, establishing a democratic form of government and delivering services to its people. We have done this by means of an indigenous, bottom-up process. In 2001, following a referendum which received the overwhelming support of the people of Somaliland, our country adopted a new constitution, which reaffirmed that the national territory of the independent Republic of Somaliland is identical to that of the Somaliland Protectorate, to which Britain granted independence in June 1960. Subsequent elections, which were deemed free and fair by international monitors, have elected governments firmly committed to Somalilandís independence. We believe that our experience of peace-building may be of interest to others, including our Somali brothers. Given this history, it is unacceptable to Somaliland that the new draft Somalia constitution might purport to lay claim to our country. Somaliland emphatically rejects any such claim on our national territory.
However, Somaliland is more than willing to have constructive discussions with the TFG or its successor about clarifying our future relations, and about matters of mutual interest, including the fight against terrorism, piracy and jihadism. Somaliland is grateful to the United Kingdom, Norway and the European Union for agreeing to co-host the exploratory talks on 21 June. We will approach those discussions in good faith and in a spirit of cooperation with a view to reinforcing and building peace and stability in the Horn.
We ask that the international community now accept the reality that Somaliland is independent, and that promoting a dialogue between two sovereign entities in Hargeysa and Mogadishu will only aid our shared objective of securing a peaceful, stable Horn of Africa.
I would be most grateful to you if you would bring this letter to the attention of His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as to the other Members of the UN Security Council.
Please accept, Foreign Secretary, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr Mohamed A. Omar
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Republic of Somaliland
cc Baroness Ashton of Upholland PC,
High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
& Vice President of the European Commission
Jonas Gahr StÝre, Foreign Minister of Norway