By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Dr Mohamed A Omar, has officially assumed his new portfolio as Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment after handing over the foreign affairs docket to his successor, Mr, Mohamed Bihi Yonis.
In a statement at the handing over ceremony, he looked back at his accomplishments over the last three years he was running the foreign office. When he assumed the office, which is exactly three years ago today, he reviewed the country’s international relations and challenges it faced.
“I found out that the country was internationally isolated, unheard and unseen at the international arenas and was passively waiting for the international community to decide on its fate. I found that position untenable and started formulating a different strategy.”
He introduced what he called “Pragmatic Foreign Policy” which represented a Paradigm Shift in a way we had been approaching our foreign affairs. The cornerstone of this vision was (1) Reducing political isolation (2) strengthen international engagement (3) attending international forums (4) increasing international assistance (5) establishing sustainable international cooperation in security and economic sectors. This 5-tier policy aimed to sustain Somaliland’s achievements and help attain international recognition.
“The results are out there for everyone to see, Somaliland is visible in international discussion on the Horn of Africa, articulated its aspirations better at global forums, started a dialogue with Somalia on equal footing, receives an increased aid including bilateral assistance, engaged fully with the world”
In three years time, Somaliland’s foreign policy has seen a transformation in both rhetoric and actions. From bring disconnected to fully engaged, from being in the shadow of Somalia to a state hat is parallel to Somalia, from shying away from interacting with the world to becoming a politically mature country.
Dr. Omar will be remembered for his role in putting Somaliland foreign policy performance at a higher bar and positioning the country in favourably vice vice the international community. His diplomatic instinct and understanding of global issues have been his great assets in undertaking his job.
His transfer to the trade and investment department is seen as part of President Silanyo’s focus on economic growth in the rest of his five year term.
In his remarks at the occasion,the new foreign minster, Mr. Mohamed Bibi Yonis, has acknowledged the outgoing ministers achievements and the policy framework he had adopted. He stated that he will continue the policy. ” I congratulate the Minister for this significant progress and will ensure to keep up this work”.