By: Yusuf M Hasan
MOGADISHU (Somalilandsun) – “Hopes are high that forthcoming talks in Turkey will result in reconciliation between Somaliland and Somalia followed by their reunification in a few months time”
This was stated by the president of the Somalia Hasan sheikh Mahmud during a press briefing in Mogadishu where he also urged regional administrations to trust his Somalia Federal government-SFG on the issue of reunifying the country again.
“The SFG I lead is asking trust from all regional administrations as it pursues the reunification of an all inclusive Somalia republic consisting of all clans who share the national cake equitably” said president Hasan
While reaffirming commitment to the international sanctioned talks between his country and Somaliland which has for the past 22 years been a sovereign country and whose acceptance to the talks was on condition that its self-rule should not be an agenda the Somalia president has since taking office late last year not minced words on his mission towards a federated Somalia “From Sayla to Kismayu”
Following a voluntary later turned fateful union with Somalia in 1960 that saw over 50,000 of its citizens butchered Somaliland a former British protectorate reclaimed its self-rule after a brutal war with forces loyal to Dictator Siad Barre in 1991.
Though its sovereignty remains without formal international recognition, Somaliland has managed to set up all the necessary structures of statehood, embarked on a successful democratization process that has been hailed as a model for third world countries in addition to having reconciled resident clans thence become a beacon of peace and security in the /turbulent horn region.
With the Somalia federal mission of President Hasan in top gear and the Somaliland avowed non negotiation of its sovereignty which it terms sacrosanct thence irrevocable the fate of the talks to resume on the 8th November 2013 in Turkey is in abeyance.
The utterances by president Hasan do not only augur negatively for ongoing talks but come at a time when the Hargeisa administration has warned that its territorial jurisdiction be it land, air or sea based is its sole preserve and will stop short of nothing to see status quos maintained.
While the land dispute with Somalia fronted by its administrative region of Puntland has been centred in the eastern regions of Sool and Sanaag more specifically districts in the east of the sprawling region, the to reckon with locally brewed Somaliland reconciliation mechanisms coupled with military muscle have managed to keep the marauding Puntlanders at bay.
The “Petty” maneuvers from Garowe that are attributed to clan affiliations with East Sanaag and Sool regions residents that had for some years seen Puntland equip militias in those areas received a three pronged blow that ensued with Somaliland claiming ultimate control and establishing public service provision.
The first was the President Silanyo –Commander Hagaltosie Buhodle peace accord signed in Dubai that saw Hagaltosie’s Sool Sanaag and Cayn (Ain)-SSC militias disbanded and absorbed in the national security agencies, the appointment of Hagaltosie as government Minister and others from the area to high ranking positions thus ending the influence of Garowe in the Sool area.
The Second step leading to the demise of Puntland influence in the area has been the crushing of Garowe armed militias who were purportedly fighting for establishment of a state dubbed Khatumo that was to be hived-off from parts of Sool Region. To date the Khatumo stronghold of Taleeh is firmly under control of the Somaliland army.
The third nail to the coffin of Puntland influence came after residents of Badhan, Las-Qoray and Dahar districts in the east of Sanaag region reconciled with the central administration in Hargeisa where traditional leaders met the president Silanyo for signature.
Though Puntland has on several occasions been warned by Somaliland defence minister but with funds from the SFG in Mogadishu continues to make incursions either armed or political, its influence in these areas has waned dramatically thus area residents are now assisting security forces keep Garowe at bay.
Sea wise the recent coast guard agreement between the SFG and Rotterdam-based Atlantic Marine and Offshore has signed a major order with the Somalia government to set up a coast guard operation geared towards combating piracy and to strengthen its, SFG, control over its territorial waters and natural resources saw the Somaliland government reaffirm its full control over territorial waters.
“Activities of the SFG are its own internal affairs that have no bearing to Somaliland in anyway” said Somaliland interior minister Waran’ade in reaction to the AMO deal as he informed that the national territorial waters and natural resources are firmly in control of the government that shall not hesitate in ensuring prevalent status quos are maintained.
As the war over jurisdiction goes aerial the land and sea based dispute fades in comparison owing to the acrimony the control of Somaliland’s airspace has elicited since the first foray by UNDP which transferred the airspace managerial authority to the SFG in Mogadishu resulting in the banning of UN operated UNHAS flights to Somaliland that were only allowed back after months of negotiations.
But following an agreement between ICAO and SFG in Montreal last month that sees the Somaliland airspace control handed over to Mogadishu on the 1st January 2014, the aviation minister Mahmud A Hashi issued a scathing statement warning that any infringements on the Turkey accords between Somaliland and Somalia shall not only result in suspension of talks but most likely in armed combat between the two countries.
With things as they stand the patience of somalilanders is running thin and cries are for the government to withdraw from talks and more importantly prepare for defence of its Air, Land and Sea boundaries.