Somaliland: Country Urged to Capitalize on the Flexibility of the UK and Danish Governments

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“Somaliland should encourage more partner countries to follow the lead of donors such as Denmark and the United Kingdom….” David ShinnAmb David Shinn

By: Mahmud Walaleye

WASHINGTON DC (Somalilandsun) – “Somalia’s goal in 1960 to unite all five Somali-inhabited areas in the Horn of Africa under one flag was probably never realistic and is even less so today”

This was termed by Amb David Shinn during an exclusive interview with Somalilandsun in which he also said the his take is that though the international community has been reluctant to recognize Somaliland, the governments of Denmark and the United Kingdom, in particular, are being flexible in the economic support they are giving to Somaliland while Turkey has also helped in a variety of ways.

Below are the verbatim excerpts of the interview with Amb Shinn conducted by Somalilandsun’s Mahmud Walaleye

Recently, Somaliland president ended his visit to US, where he met both government and congress delegates as well as businessmen, how do you see this visit would enhance relation between US and Somaliland, would you got chance to meet, if yes what was discussions you had with him?

Somaliland has a good reputation in the United States. Visits by its leadership to the United States and meetings with senior officials in the executive branch, Congress and business persons make a positive contribution to the relationship. I had an opportunity to meet President Silanyo in Washington on 22 April at a lunch hosted by the US think Tank, the Atlantic Council.

Somaliland has been consistently making dramatic shifts for the past two 22 years. Some fair outside observers have called the rebuilding efforts and the developments that Somaliland has made for these past two decades, mostly with very little or no contribution from outside, “the miracle of Africa”. Unfortunately, the UK, with a long historical link with Somaliland and rest of world, has refused to recognize this “African miracle”. How do you see?

 I am reluctant to label any political development in Africa or elsewhere “a miracle.” Good governance and peace with neighbors come after a lot of hard work AND COMPROMISE by all concerned parties. Both factors will be necessary as Somalia and Somaliland continue their dialogue. While no government has recognized diplomatically the government of Somaliland, it is my understanding that the governments of Denmark and the United Kingdom, in particular, are being flexible in the economic support they are giving to Somaliland. Turkey has also helped in a variety of ways.

Somaliland and Somalia united on the basis of nationalism ideal. Since uniting all the five Somali-populated territories cannot legally and politically happen, by logical extension, the disbanded union of Somaliland and Somalia cannot be pursued legally, politically, and morally. How do you perceive?

 Somalia’s goal in 1960 to unite all five Somali-inhabited areas in the Horn of Africa under one flag was probably never realistic and is even less so today. Djibouti, whose majority Somali population has been independent since 1977, never had any intention of joining a “Greater Somalia” and certainly does not intend to do so now. Neither Kenya nor Ethiopia has ever been inclined to allow its Somali-inhabited regions to join a “Greater Somalia.” The passage of time has only hardened their resistance. This leaves only the relationship between Somaliland and Somalia and that will be determined in the coming years by the people and leaders of both Somalia and Somaliland.

Lastly, how do you see Somaliland quest of international recognition be retained under current maneuvers?

 I don’t believe recent developments have changed the reluctance of countries to extend diplomatic recognition to Somaliland. Today, it is more important for Somaliland to encourage more partner countries to follow the lead of donors such as Denmark and the United Kingdom to make assistance available on a more flexible basis. It is equally important that Somaliland continue to pursue its generally good record on building democratic rule.

Reporter Mahmoud WalaleyeAmb David Shinn who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from GW is an expert on Horn and other issues , currently an adjunct professor of international affairs at The George Washington University, a post he assumed after serving his country as ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99) and to Burkina Faso (1987-90)

To read his regular views on the Horn and world issues visit http://davidshinn.blogspot.com

Earlier Amb Shinn interviews and articles on Somaliland posted by Somalilandsun

US Government to Act after Final IEO Report: Country Urged to Enhance Democratization Process : Only a Broad based government in Mogadishu can resolve differences with Somaliland : International community not Important in Somaliland’s recognition : US Dual Track policy towards Somalia and Somaliland : and , US Dual Track Policy in Somalia to Result in Increased Aid to Somaliland

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