By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General-SRGS to Somalia Ambassador Nicholas Kay is expected to hold discussions with government officials in Hargeisa mid August 2014.
This was revealed by the Somaliland Foreign minister Mohamed Behi Yonis who informed that the SRSG has accepted an official invitation extended by the government of Somaliland and shall be visiting Hargeisa for discussions on the 18th and 19th August 2014.
“Amb Kay accepted the government invitation extended by me during a meeting in London on the 23rd of last month (June) said FM Behi Yonis as he stressed on the importance on sustainable relations with the SRSG who reports to the UNSC in New York every three months.
According to the foreign minister the talks with Amb Kay shall concentrate on establishing parameters on how Somaliland can access the multifaceted aid and other support relations with the world body entails for every nation in the world.
“As the SRSG in Somalia for the UN secretary General Amb Kay is in-charge of all UN agencies and their related activities especially humanitarian and development” Said Behi as he informed that discussions will dwell on the same.
The Security Council, decides to establish the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) by 3 June 2013, under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), for an initial period of twelve months with the intention to renew for further periods as appropriate, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Secretary-General.
Since Amb Kay took over from his predecessor Amb Augustine Mahiga last year relations between the UN and Somaliland have been estranged to the point that the maiden visit to Hargeisa of the SRSG ended in sour taste after the Government denied the body he leads UNSOM an operation base in the country for reasons related to its mandate mainly provision of policy advice to the Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM, development of a federal system (including preparations for elections in 2016), and coordination of international donor support.
During his maiden turned fateful visit to Somaliland on 13th June 2013 and after meeting government officials at a meeting chaired by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo Amb Kay left the country denied of a base to operate his UNSOM as opposed to its predecessor UNPOS led by Amb Mahiga.
In his denial to UNSOM that might possible be reversed during the forthcoming meeting of august President Silanyo told Amb Kay
“We understand that UNSOM’s political role is to rebuild a federal Somalia through a comprehensive and integrated international support, while it seeks to open a sub-office in Somaliland. This ignores the reality of Somaliland’s existence and functioning as an independent state since 1991 and the self-determination rights of our people. Since the purpose of such an office is to extend the remit of the federal government to Somaliland, my government is of the view that a UNSOM’S presences in Hargeisa will not be in the best interest of our country. Therefore, we cannot allow UNSOM’S political office to function in Somaliland”
In justification of the rejection in which the government of Somaliland indicated awareness of the negative impact on relations with the UN and attendant benefits, a statement released by then Somaliland foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar read in part
“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.”
UNSOM established by the UNSC in May 2013 to more effectively coordinate international support for the government of Somalia and as a replacement for the Mahiga led United Nations Political Office Somalia-UNPOS saw Briton Kay appointed head by SG Ban Ki Moon immediately with his deputy in charge of Humanitarian affairs Philippe Lazzarini appointed in December of the same year.
The Scale of intended UNSOM support to various sectors in Somaliland were detailed by then spokesperson of the body Mr. Aleem Sidique during a June 2013 interview with Somalilandsun in which he stated that UNSOM shall not only act as honest broker between Somaliland and neighbouring Somalia but Inclusion of experts in mediation, building rule of law institutions, development, police planning and coordination of international assistance to Somaliland.
All this came to naught following the rejection of an UNSOM operational base in Hargeisa and the bad blood existing and exacerbated by the airspace control saga saw Kay negate Somaliland to a repeated quotation mark in his reports to the UNSC.
While the Amb Kay quotation marks in reference to Somaliland went unchallenged his interference in political ongoing in Hargeisa saw the establishment and parliament urge him to tread carefully.
With the appointment of Mohamed Behi Yonis as foreign minister a former colleague of the SRSG at the UN started seeing a slow Somaliland negativity about-turn on the part of Amb Kay and a clincher was his sentiments to an USIP audience in which he gave tacit recognition to the republic of Somaliland.
According to Amb Kay who also acknowledge that insecurity in Somalia might result in departure of his UNSOM and other UN Agencies the Uniqueness of Somaliland which is as a result of UN resolutions pertaining to the territorial integrity of Somalia and two decades of non –recognition does not deter it, Somaliland, from maintaining etiquettes of, and acting as a De-facto state.
Queried by an USIP audience on his and UNSOM relations with Somaliland a chuckling Kay said that president Silanyo told him “Being the Head of UNSOM we ask you not to return to Somaliland for you are in the wrong country because your mandate from the UN is to promote Federalism and Constitutional review etc. in Somalia which is the neighbouring country next door”
With the coming August meeting in Hargeisa it is expected that the Somaliland authorities shall patch up differences with Ambassador Nicholas Kay and as per the words of FM Behi facilitate the access to increased Humanitarian and development support to the country whose sovereignty remains unrecognized internationally 23 years after it withdrew in 1991 from its voluntary later turned fateful with Italia- Somalia in 1960.