Somalilandsun- The recent visit by president Silanyo abroad was not on official invitation by any government nor was it a campaign one for ruling Kulmiye party.
This was revealed by the Somaliland foreign minister Dr Saad Ali Shire during an interview with Hornnewspaper in which he also informed that the decision to separate presidential and parliamentary elections have not injured the country’s relations internationally.
The FM also informed that talks with Somalia are not stalled but on an hiatus with resumption set for soon though the outcome has no relation to the Somaliland sovereignty
Read below verbatim excerpts of the interview
Hornnewspaper- The recent visit by president Silanyo to the U.K. and UAE remains an enigma with citizens, so was it on official invitation or a private visit?
Foreign Minister- Yes the visit has been discussed much thence clarification is important
Though the president was not on invitation it was an official working tour in which his delegation held discussions on local issues with citizens in the diaspora
At the various meeting issues pertaining to status back home were highlighted with the accompany administration officials briefing on specific areas of their mandate
At the same the head of state utilized the tour as an opportunity for a much needed rest and also to hold final get together his constituents in Britain owing to the fact that his tenure in office is only a few months short of expiring.
Q- What of the claims by opposition politicians that the visit was actually related to the president’s health?
FM- As said earlier the visit had nothing with the very perfect health of president Silanyo but related to issues already addressed and the reception from citizens in the British diaspora was as usual, presidential.
Q- Considering the chairperson Kulmiye party and presidential nominee Muse Behi was in the presidential delegation, isn’t it true that the visit was on campaign for the ruling party?
FM- During his stay in the U.K. the head of state met and held discussions with Somalilanders of all political persuasions both pro and anti government to who he briefed on his lengthily service to the nation all the way from his leadership of SNM till his current station and achievements garnered by his administration.
On the other hand the president is not a candidate for a second term though the constitution of both his party Kulmiye and country allow him to do so
And despite the fact that the leader of the reeling party cum its presidential nominee was in the delegation does not warrant it to have been a campaigning one for Kulmiye.
Q- What can you tell us about the request by the UAE government for a military base in the coastal town of Berbera. Is it true, has it been accepted?
FM – Yes I can officially confirm that such a request was extended to president Silanyo recently, and in liue of the stringent mechanisms involved and the imperative for a parliamentary approval, the request is still in exploratory discussion stage.
Q- How is the country’s international relations in liue of the decision by the president to separate parliamentary and presidential elections thence differing the legislature polls, a decision contested by foreign bodies that partner the Somaliland democratization process?
FM- My take is that our international relations are as good as they have been ante the postponement of parliamentary elections, a Decision that was made based on national interests which is indisputable by any government anywhere.
In the same breath, since post decision on elections separation I had the occasion to visit the UAE U.K., and Malaysia on my capacity as the foreign minister and accorded the relevant protocols as before.
In Malaysia where I represented the president who had been officially invited to participate in the Islamic world leadership conference I met and held discussions with various leaders representing their countries and discussions were cordial thence my take remains that the decision to separate the elections has not changed our international relations an iota.
Q- Minister it is a fact that our international partners were and remain opposed to the separation of the polls and subsequent postponement of parliamentary ones, what damage to this relations would a deferment of the presidential polls slated for March 2017?
FM- The decision to postpone parliamentary was made for reasons related to national interests a decision in which all local stakeholders are in concurrence.
As for the insinuations of similar postponement of presidential elections nothing has been heard from the president and more so it is important to note that the national elections commission has not only completed voter registration nationwide but acknowledged full preparedness to conduct polls in March.
Therefore the issue of deterioration of international relations as a result of presidential polls postponement does not arise at all.
Q- What is your take on the statement by the U.K. Government spokesperson that the recognition of Somaliland is a decision by Somalia and other Neighbouring countries?
FM- This aspect is the very reason that we are in talks with Somalia that are in relation to establishing peaceful separation from the defunct 1960 union whose motive was to created the now doomed vision of a five pronged greater Somalia.
And while talks with Somalia have been in a hiatus it does not mean that they have been discarded
While the sovereignty of Somaliland shall not be tied to the fortunes of Somalia it is our mission to talk with not only the Mogadishu based administration but Neighbouring countries and the international community as per our aspirations which are not only irrevocable for recognition as a free and independent country among others of the United Nations.