By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Pressure on the Government of Saudi Arabia bears fruits.
Citizens travelling to the holy city of Mecca for Hajj (Pilgrimage) will use the pre-1999 Somalia passports issued before Somaliland reclaimed its sovereignty.
This revelation came via a statement issued by the Somaliland Representative in the USA Ambassador Rashid Garuuf.
The government of Saudi Arabia had recently announced that it recognizes only the new TFG Somalia passport dubbed “Abdilahi Yusuf” thus entry refusal for pilgrims using either the Somaliland or the pre-1999 Somalia passports.
The Saudi decision raised much clamor with some even at ministerial level suggesting a boycott of this year’s Hajj in protest, while others urged caution and the use of the TFG one, a suggestion that heightened the clamor further.
According to Amb. Garuuf the Saudi about-turn came after the administration of President Silanyo undertook intense negotiations with Riyadh where the Saudis were informed of the impossibility of Somalilanders travelling with a TFG passport.
The Amb Garuuf statement from Washington read:
This is to inform on the political stance and decision of the Government of Somaliland as pertains to the use of the Somalia TFG passports and repercussions.
He also informed that the government of Saudi Arabia has accepted the pre-1999 Somalia passport as valid travel document for Somalilanders attending the hajj.
The entire position is as:
1. The administration of the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo hereby informs prospective pilgrims to use the pre-1991 Somalia passport.
2. The use of the pre-1991 green passport is now valid