By: Yusuf M Hasan
ANKARA (Somalilandsun) – The government of Somaliland has dispatched a technical team to Turkey.
The two member team composed of presidency Minister Hirsi Haji Ali and Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Behi Younis is charged with jumpstarting stalled talks with neighbouring Somalia.
The two ministers who are awaiting counterparts from the Somalia Federal Government-SFG shall attempt returning the neighbouring country to the negotiation table of internationally sanctioned talks hosted by Turkey.
The two countries have failed to resume the fifth phase of talks in Ankara through machinations from the SFG in Mogadishu that has continuously requested postponement of negotiations whose fifth phase was slated for Mid this year.
While it is possible that the two shall starting parleying soon despite Shilly-shallying from the SFG it is impossible to see anything tangible since agendas from Hargeisa and Mogadishu are very divergent in the talks between the two formerly united countries that were sanctioned in Feb. 2012 during the Somalia Conference
According to the SFG the talks are about Somaliland returning to the Union which it withdrew from in 1991 with president Hasan Sheikh having publicly stated that his main mandate is total reunification to the pre 1991 Somalia republic.
As per Somaliland the negotiations are about establishing bi-lateral relations on an equal footing since its 1991 proclamation of Sovereignty is totally not only irrevocable but not negotiable as well.
Despite the wide divide that remains acrimonious between the two, Somalia has with much gusto refused to implement any agreements reached during various phases of talks all the way from London, Dubai, Istanbul One and two and Ankara (see below) thus forcing Somaliland to invite other friendly as observers in the talks among them France.
To this effect the current mission of ministers Hirsi and Behi are to initially establish a mutually acceptable agenda to both Somaliland and Somalia under mediation by Turkey as a prelude to enticing the stubborn SFG back to the talks.
The Turkish government that has publicly acknowledged that the talks it hosts are lackluster as a result of non implementation of agreements has seen Ankara dispatched diplomats on a whirlwind diplomacy to the capitals of Hargeisa and Mogadishu in a bid to revive negotiations thence the imminent technical level meeting .
Somaliland, situated in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the African country in 1991. However, Somalia wants Somaliland to be part of a united country.
on the other hand Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre not to mention that the current and weak Western-backed federal government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years and is propped up by a 20,000-strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Djibouti.
Past Phases of meetings between Somaliland and Somalia
Somaliland / Somalia talks: Chevening House Declaration
Somaliland: Dubai Statement 28/06/2012
Turkey Hosts Tripartite Talks with Somaliland and Somalia Presidents
Somaliland: Mogadishu Relinquishes Airspace Control and Acknowledges Atrocities
Somaliland: Position Paper on Somalia Talks Presented During Preparatory Meeting in Istanbul