Somaliland rejects Somalia’s call for inclusion

Somaliland should not be included in the Federal structure or electoral processes of the Somalia, Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, stated in a statement to the press on Monday, February 1. The Foreign Minister made the statement in response to a communiqué issued on the 27th of January 2016 by the Government of Somalia that expressed need for the inclusion of Somaliland in the federal structure road map as well as electoral process. He stated that Somalia, as well as the international community, needs to be reminded that the Republic of Somaliland is a sovereign nation with its own governing system.
“We want to make it clear that Somaliland has never been and is not part of the federal road map structure and electoral process in any shape or form. We applaud the international community’s effort to help Somalia stabilize and stand on its feet and we wish it well. At the same time, we would like to remind the international community that with their assistance, we started a dialogue with Somalia in 2012 to negotiate and agree on issues of common concern and clarify our future relations,”Shire stated.
With a population of 3.5 million, Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after a bloody civil war and fall of the then head of state, Mohamed Siad Barre. Although no sovereign state has recognized Somaliland as an independent nation, the autonomous state has garnered interest from foreign companies from the UK and UAE, seeking oil and gas.
Somaliland has had five elections in the last 15 years with successful transfer of power on multiple occasions. “The country has repeatedly demonstrated its democratic credentials through holding peaceful, free and fair elections. Our people went to the polling stations 5 times during the last 15 years to elect their representatives in government, parliament and local councils.We are now preparing ourselves for parliamentary and presidential election to be held in 2017. We wish to reiterate that this has nothing to do with the 2016 federal elections in Somalia,” Shire underlined.
The governments of Somaliland and Somalia have been in negotiations since 2012 regarding the status of the two regions and the way forward. “We started the dialogue back in 2012, and the purpose of the dialogue is to discuss and negotiate on issues of common concern but also the final relationship status between Somaliland and Somalia,” the Foreign Minister said. Among the issues that are under negotiation are aviation and the legal right of Somaliland to be in control of its airspace.
Somaliland became independent from British rule in 1960 and was reunited with Somalia around the same time. The government of Somaliland believes that the legality of the two territories’ union was questionable.
The government also insists that Somaliland fulfills all the requirements of a sovereign state, and is in full compliance with the Article 4 of the African Union charter regarding the preservation of inherited colonial boundaries.
“We are currently in the processes of submitting our case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). We believe we have a good legal, moral and a humanitarian case and we are confident that the court will have a very positive opinion in the legal status of Somaliland,” Shire said.
The foreign minister further added that the instability in Somalia has had an effect on the negotiations that being carried out. “It has made the negotiations more difficult, we need a strong government in Somalia which can make decisions and which can deal with us. We hope Somalia will be able to stabilize itself and we will be able to negotiate in good spirit,” he added.
According to a survey conducted in 2012 by the World Bank, Somaliland’s GDP was 1.4 billion USD. The livestock industry accounts for 30 percent of the economy, followed by trade at 20 percent, crop production at 8 percent and real estate at 6 percent.