By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- Saudi Arabia has accepted the Somaliland passport as an official travel document to the kingdom.
To this effect all Somalilanders intent on performing the annual pilgrimage shall enter the kingdom officially with Saudi entry visas stamped on their national passports.
Information from sources in Riyadh indicate that king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and head of the House of Saud has also extended an official invitation to president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo for discussions in Riyadh
While Somaliland authorities are yet to acknowledge the passport acceptance and subsequent invitation it is anticipated that president Silanyo currently on a private visit to the Emirates shall proceed to Riyadh on due date.
According to our sources the official invitation to Saudi Arabia has bilateral relations as main agenda more the kingdom’s softening on the recognition of Somaliland which the custodian of the holy sites is reported to be intent on lobbying for within its allies in the Arab world.
For the unrecognized Somaliland whose quest for international recognition has remained elusive since it withdrew from union with Somalia 26 years ago, the news is elating as success shall entail complete disassociation with its war torn neighbour to the south
Though yet to be confirmed this huge about turn by the Kingdom as pertains Somaliland is attributed to the pro Saudi Arabia and allies support authorities in Hargeisa gave as pertains to the GCC Conflict and subsequent cutting of relations with embattled Qatar now suspended from the GCC.
On the other hand the political upper hand Somalia has held in relations with Arab countries has been dealt a severe blow following the support Mogadishu gave to Qatar in the GCC crisis thus the wrath of regional power house Saudi Arabia which is said to have withdrawn its recent invitation for talk with Somalia president Farmajo and earlier offer of $80m.