By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – The president of Somaliland H.E Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo met for the first time his Somalia counterpart President Hasan Sheikh Mahmud at the Ankara Palas during talks moderated by the government of Turkey.
The meeting in Turkey is a resumption of the internationally sanctioned talks between the two former united countries geared towards mitigating differences that emanate after the British Somaliland unilaterally declaration of its independence as a de facto sovereign state in 1991 thus breaking away from its then voluntarily but later fateful union with Italian Somalia entered in 1960.
Despite its 21 years quest for recognition Somaliland is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia and as it entered into the resumed talks in Turkey whose agenda had not been made clear by the hosts the foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar who led the preparatory committee presented his country’s position paper for the talks thus resting reiterating the not for discussion stance on Somaliland’s Sovereignty http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/2655
According to reports by Ankara based Todays Zaman news Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with leaders of Somalia and Somaliland on Saturday in the Turkish capital for talks to mitigate problems the two sides are facing.
“Davutoglu came together with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo at the Ankara Palas. Mahmoud and Silanyo were also expected to have talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish President Abdullah Gül after meeting with Davutoglu” reports Todays Zaman
Following the dictates of the Feb 2012 London conference on Somalia communique urging the two countries to resolve the two decades long issue of Somaliland’s unilateral declaration of independence and Somalia’s insistence on unity the talks in Turkey are the third face to face between the two countries in 21 years.
In pursuit of fulfilling the commitments in the London and Istanbul communiqués that the international community would support dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (or its replacement) and Somaliland thus clarify their future relations the first phase of the talks which were at a technical level were held at London’s Chevening house between 20‐21 June 2012 that resulted in an eight points agreement http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/959 dubbed the “CHEVENING HOUSE DECLARATION”
The second phase between president Silanyo and then Somalia Transitional Federal Government-TFG President Sheikh Sharif ensued on 28/06/2012 in Dubai where a four point agreement dubbed “Dubai Declaration” was signed http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/1002
The four points agreed in the Dubai Declaration were
1. In reference to the dictates of article 6 and 10 of the London and Istanbul II conferences on Somalia as pertains to talks between Somaliland and Somalia supported by the international community in order to establish cordial relations.
2. As a follow-up of the Chevening house meeting held in London, the two presidents met in Dubai on 28th June 2012.
3. The Dubai meeting was held on invitation and subsequent hosting by the government of the UAE and
4. The objective of the meeting between presidents Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo and Sheikh Sharif in order to put an official rubber stamp on the Chevening House declaration of 20th June 2012.
In relation to the above points the two presidents agreed that the talks committees from the two countries should continue with deliberations in order to implement the eight points of Chevening declaration thus establish and sustain durable relations between the two neighbouring countries.
A month after the Dubai declaration Somaliland postponed any further talks owing to the expired mandate of the Sheikh Sharif led TFG government which was ultimately replaced by the current Somalia federal Government-SFG upon selection of incumbent Hasan Sheikh Mahmud as president.
Before hosting the resumed talks Turkey which finds itself in untenable diplomatic situation owing to the divergent positions of the two sides where Somaliland remains adamant on the non-discussion of its sovereignty and Somalia insisting on reunification the government in Ankara has in the recent past held dialogue with the two presidents.
During his first diplomatic visit to Turkey in late December 2012 after taking office, Mohamud expressed his gratitude to the Turkish government and the nation for their support and aid and for instilling hope in Somalis. Mohamud, Somalia’s president since last September was invited to Turkey by his counterpart, President Abdullah Gül.
President Silanyo also visited Turkey in mid-March 2013 to have talks with Turkish officials, including Davutoglu, who pledged to increase aid efforts to Somaliland. During his visit, Silanyo was also scheduled to meet with Erdoğan; however, the meeting had to be cancelled due to Erdogan’s poor health.
Somalilandsun shall post an official statement of the talks from the ministry of foreign affairs