Somaliland Government FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNSOM Political Mandate and Presence in Hargeisa Would Violate Somaliland Constitution, Sovereignty
The Republic of Somaliland welcomed UN Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Nicholas Kay to Hargeisa on June 13.
Somaliland President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo and Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Abdilahi Omar met with Special Representative Kay to discuss ongoing efforts undertaken by Somalia and Somaliland to discuss the shape of the UN presence in Somaliland, as well as Special Representative Kay’s leadership of the newly established United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The Somaliland leaders reiterated their government’s position that Somaliland is separate from Somalia, having declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, a position endorsed by its people in a referendum in 2001. Any UN presence or activities in Somaliland must take those facts into account.
Following these consultations, Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Abdilahi Omar said, “We continue to welcome the United Nations in Somaliland, but request— as we have consistently requested in our ongoing consultations with the United Nations—that support be provided in a manner that respects our nation’s Constitution and democratic institutions, and without prejudice to a particular outcome regarding Somaliland’s future relations with Somalia, which can only be addressed in our ongoing bilateral dialogue .”
President Silanyo and Minister Omar conveyed their government’s position – both in their meeting with the Special Representative and in writing – that UNSOM’s current mandate does not extend beyond Somalia, and that an UNSOM presence in Somaliland whose purpose is to implement this mandate would violate Somaliland’s Constitution and sovereignty, and is not in the best interest of Somaliland. While UNSOM’s mandate and purported activities are entirely incompatible with the situation on the ground in Somaliland, the government clarified that all UN humanitarian and development funds, agencies and programs continue to be welcome. A copy of the government’s letter to Mr. Kay (see below) was subsequently shared with other governments that have an interest in these matters.
Somaliland will continue to pursue dialogue with Somalia and advance the process begun at the February 2012 London Conference and continued when bilateral talks resumed in Ankara in April 2013. This Dialogue, which respects the independence of Somaliland, remains the principal mechanism for Somaliland and Somalia to clarify their future relations and cooperation, and will proceed in accordance with the terms agreed by the two governments in Ankara, Dubai and Chevening. Somaliland views the Dialogue as an integral component of international efforts to foster peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and continues to welcome the efforts of bilateral partners and the UN to support this dialogue.
The Government of Somaliland offered its strongest support for UNSOM’s efforts to re-establish peace and security in Somalia. It also welcomed future UN engagement in Somaliland that takes into account Somaliland’s unique status and its specific political and economic priorities.