Amb David Shinn talks to Somalilandsun on the Ankara communique and 7th May London conference on Somalia.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun-The Somaliland-Somalia dialogue should shift to Mogadishu and Hargeisa and be totally in the hands of Somalis.
According to Ambassador David Shinn who gave Somalilandsun an exclusive interview the shift of dialogue venue will not happen until there is sufficient trust on both sides thus the indefinite continuation of the talks outside Somalia and Somaliland.
The Amb who is of the opinion that boycotting the London conference is a lost opportunity for Somaliland to gain a better understanding of Somalia’s leadership and its position on a range of issues as well as to engage with senior officials from the United Kingdom it might be a blessing in disguise if the London Conference is lacking in accomplishments thence the Hargeisa administration can claim that it made the right decision.
In order effectively to implement decision will require the establishment of some kind of joint mechanism. Otherwise, it will be nothing more than a “paper” agreement with no real significance.
On the Ankara Communique that he terms “a positive step” Amb Shinn says that the implementation of decision especially sharing of intelligence will require the establishment of some kind of joint mechanism Otherwise, it will be nothing more than a “paper” agreement with no real significance.
Below are the verbatim excerpts of the Amb David Shinn interview
Is the Ankara Communique of advantage or disadvantage to Somaliland, Why?
The Ankara Communique is primarily a commitment by Somalia and Somaliland to continue to dialogue. This is a positive step, although it is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage for Somaliland. It all depends how Somalia and Somaliland continue the process.
How will the two entities share Intelligence, Training and funds as per the communique? Doesn’t this necessitate the establishment of a Federal body to facilitate the full implementation of the same?
The decision in the Ankara Communique to share intelligence, training as well as sharing scholarships for security sector professionals in order to become more effective in the fight against terrorism, extremism, piracy, illegal fishing, toxic dumping, maritime crime and serious crime is a good one. To implement this decision will require the establishment of some kind of joint mechanism. Otherwise, it will be nothing more than a “paper” agreement with no real significance.
What is your take on the assertions by Somalia MP Ali Khalif Galayd that by signing the Communique the Somalia president and his government recognized the existence of Somaliland as a sovereign country?
The Ankara Communique gives Somaliland a certain status , but I don’t see that it constitutes recognition by Somalia of the existence of Somaliland as a sovereign country.
Is Somaliland justified in boycotting the 7th May London conference on Somalia? Why?
Participation by Somaliland in the 7 May 2013 London Conference is a decision it must make. I don’t know the reasons why it decided to boycott the conference.
What are the consequences, Negative & Positive of President Silanyo’s refusal to accede to both UK (Cameron) and USA (MS Sherman) requests to attend the conference?
Boycotting of the conference means that Somaliland misses an opportunity to gain a better understanding of Somalia’s leadership and its position on a range of issues. It prevents the ability to further the dialogue with Somalia and to engage with senior officials from the United Kingdom. On the other hand, if the London Conference is lacking in accomplishments, Somaliland can claim that it made the right decision.
Was the opening of the UK embassy a show of displeasure with Somaliland or a genuine diplomatic move?
When the United Kingdom opened the British Office in Hargeisa on 3 September 2012, Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, made clear that the British Office in Hargeisa and the future British Embassy in Mogadishu are part of the expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network. When Hague opened the Embassy in Mogadishu on 25 April 2013, he stated that it was “testament both to the strength of the UK/Somalia bilateral friendship and to UK government’s commitment to work with the Federal Government of Somalia as they rebuild their country after two decades of conflict.” In my view, this was a genuine diplomatic move and not a show of displeasure with Somaliland.
Should the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue continued to be hosted by foreign governments or shifted to alternate venues in the two countries?
Ideally, the Somaliland-Somalia dialogue should shift to Mogadishu and Hargeisa and be totally in the hands of Somalis. This will not happen until there is sufficient trust on both sides. In the meantime, the talks will continue outside Somalia and Somaliland.
Amb 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
Recent Amb Shinn interview on Somaliland posted by Somalilandsun Somaliland Urged to Capitalize on the Flexibility of the UK and Danish Governments