Somaliland: Intensify Recognition Lobbying at Major Fora-Dr Tannock

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Dr Charles Tannock MEP“I think the preferred UK solution is a united Somalia under a federal constitution but I don’t think the UK a priori excludes something like the Sudan precedent of a roadmap to a referendum for independence but only if both sides agree”- Dr. Tannock

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The quest for the country’s international recognition requires an immediate revamp on strategies.

This is per of Dr. Charles Tannock a Briton member of the European Parliament- MEP during and interview with Geeska Afrika and Somalilandsun in which he also revealed non prioritization of Somaliland’s quest by foreign policy circles within the USA or EU member states.

While urging a revamp of foreign policy strategies thus ease the sovereignty recognition quest, Dr Tannock who is a long term campaigner for the sovereignty recognition of Somaliland advised the Hargeisa based administration to seek funds to setup a more professional diplomatic corps in the Foreign Ministry , to do more lobbying in international fora and parliaments across western countries and AU countries as well as co-opt the Somalilander diaspora in countries like UK and Sweden etc. to lobby their MPs to put pressure on their governments to raise this matter in the UN, EU etc.

He also revealed that the Late Ethiopians premier Melees Zenawi who was very sympathetic to Somaliland Could only offer friendly “de facto” recognition of Somaliland but would stop short of supporting “de jure” recognition for several reasons including the fact that Addis Ababa is the seat of the AU and there is no consensus of views on the re-recognition issue in the AU and furthermore Ethiopia does not want to be seen to promoting a breakup of

Below are the full verbatim excerpts of the interview:

1. How do you perceive Somaliland’s quest of international recognition in relation to recent US and EU official acknowledgement of the Mogadishu government?

Sadly the issue of Somaliland re-recognition has little priority or is even open to regular discussion as a topic in foreign policy circles both in the USA or EU member states and even my attempts to get it merely “noted” in my Horn of Africa Report was defeated by a vote in the European parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.

2. During your meetings with late Prime Minister of Ethiopia Zenawi, did you find him to be sympathetic to Somaliland?

The late PM of Ethiopia made it clear that his government would go as far as they could in terms of friendly “de facto” recognition of Somaliland but would stop short of supporting “de jure” recognition for several reasons including the fact that Addis Ababa is the seat of the AU and there is no consensus of views on the re-recognition issue in the AU and furthermore Ethiopia does not want to be seen to promoting a breakup of Somalia which was a policy of the previous atrocious and discredited Derg regime. Nevertheless the late PM Meles said he would do everything to support the Hargeisa government as a friendly neighbour

2. What is your take on internationally sanctioned dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia?

My understanding is that the UK, and the rest of the EU for that matter, seek to encourage dialogue between the Hargeisa and Mogadishu governments to seek out a mutually agreed roadmap towards an agreed long term peaceful and prosperous solution for the future of Somalia without the UK or the international community imposing any prior preconditions. I think the preferred UK solution is a united Somalia under a federal constitution but I don’t think the UK a priori excludes something like the Sudan precedent of a roadmap to a referendum for independence but only if both sides agree.

3. When and how did you start your activism for the recognition of Somaliland?

I started taking an interest in Somaliland when I was approached by a UK resident who had worked there many years ago as a teacher who raised the re-recognition issue some 5 years ago and I met both the Somaliland representative to the EU and Mr. Silanyo as opposition leader in London at a Dr Tannock at meeting of SomalilandersSomalilander community event. I read up about the issue and concluded personally the Somaliland’s quest for independence had a strong legal, political and moral base.

My most recent attempt was 3 months ago in my attempts to get a mention of the recognition issue in my Report on the Horn of Africa but it was voted out by a Green Group amendment much to my regret!

5. What is your advice to Somalilanders Considering the obvious sidelining of Somaliland and intensified lime lighting of Somalia within international circles?

I think the best thing is to seek funds to setup a more professional diplomatic corps in the Foreign Ministry (which is very difficult for a small and economically disadvantaged country like Somaliland) to do more lobbying in international fora and parliaments across western countries and AU countries. I also think the Somalilander diaspora in countries like UK and Sweden could organize better to lobby their MPs to put pressure on their governments to raise this matter in the UN, EU etc.

Most importantly is to encourage Foreign Direct Investment by outside private companies who will then have an interest in lobbying their own governments to support a prosperous and stable future for Somaliland as well as growing the Somaliland economy which will make it a more viable future possible independent state in the eyes of the international community.

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