Tougher Somaliland-Somalia talks ahead

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By: Liban Ahmad

Somalilandsun – Twenty two years ago president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud (Silanyo) of Somaliland wrote a paper entitled “A Proposal To The Somali National Movement: On A Framework For A Transitional Government In Somalia. ” In the paper President Silanyo, then, former SNM Chairman, cautioned against forming a government in Mogadishu following the ouster of the military dictatorship in 1991 without consulting ‘liberation movements’, and reprisals against civilians. United Somali Congress leaders heeded neither suggestion.

They formed an interim administration led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed and failed to rein in their militias, who committed widespread human rights violations. Now president Silaanyo is the first president of Somaliland to be able to hold talks with a Mogadishu-based government.

Representatives from Somaliland administration and the former Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government, the predecessor of Somali Federal Government, met last year under an arrangement by the British government. Federalism, on which the Somali government institutions are based, is the second factor that made the talks possible. Since Somalia’s successive federal governments have banked on the support of African forces , mostly from Somalia’s neighbouring countries in favour of a federal system for Somalia, the former Transitional Federal Government leaders refrained from policies that could destabilise Somaliland, as Wikileaks entry on the late Somali president Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed dated 24/11/2004 has shown.

The outcome of Ankara meeting held yesterday gives strong hints about Somaliland intentions to be pragmatic about the status of the Somali Federal Government and its privileges in the international fora. Somaliland has given the Somali Federal Government the green light to ensure Somaliland gets its share of the development aid. This is a remarkable success for Somaliland since it will continue to maintain its partnership with development or multilateral agencies such as USAID, SIDA, DFID and the World Bank.

However , cooperation could be derailed by the Somali FederalGovernment’s drive to take advantage of its status that reinstated Somalia’s membership in such agencies as International Monetary Fund. Will the Somali Federal Government consult Somaliland administration on any talks with IMF regarding new loans for post-war reconstruction? Somali Federal Government proposals to IMF for loans will not leave out Somaliland because of sovereigntygrounds but failure to discuss those issues with major stakeholders such as Somaliland could undermine all that has been achieved through talks. In other words, will Somalilandland consider legitimate agreements Somali Federal Governments signs with multilateral organisations without the input of Somaliland administration? Follow-up talks between the Somali Federal Government andSomaliland Administration have paved the way for tougher talks in the future. Decisions made in Mogadishu will affect Hargeisapolitically in the near future. That is why political issues were shelved during the talks between Somali Federal Government andSomaliland administration in Ankara.

Liban Ahmad

Libahm@gmail.com

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