By: Yusuf M Hasan
LONDON (Somalilandsun) – Under paternal like herding by Britons, Somaliland and Somalia met face to face for the first time after two decades.
According to inside Chevening House information revealed to Hornnewspaper and Somalilandsun, the first talks between the now antagonists’ and former allies in unity, Somaliland and Somalia were conducted diplomatically and cozy atmosphere made possible by the co-host of the UK, Norway and the EU.
The talks were held in a secluded compound at Chevening Manor house on the outskirts of London where those in attendances were only accredited delegates from Somaliland, Britain, Somalia Norway and the European Union. Both journalists and the usual large retinue of deputies, their assistants and assistants to assistants were allowed.
The talks that were 2 decades ensued following the dictates of article six and 10 of the final communiques issued after the February London and June Istanbul II conferences on Somalia respectively.
Participants representing a diversified international stakeholder concurred on the imperative need to settle differences between Somaliland and Somalia thus the two communiques and subsequent ice breaking meeting at technical committee level that produced the 8 points Chevening house declaration on 22nd June 2012. (http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/959-somaliland–somalia-talks-chevening-house-declaration?d680c090 )
As per the inside revelations availed Hornnewspaper the 2 days talks ensued as detailed below:
The opening of the Chevening House talks which had no particular sitting arrangements thus the intermingling of delegates started with the chief host Briton welcoming all and detailing the purpose of the two decades overdue face to face between Somaliland and Somalia.
The hosts had to call upon their renowned diplomatic prowess to diffuse radiating tensions between the two Horn of Africa sides who on entering the meeting hall had only exchanged the mandatory Asalam Aleikum greetings of Muslims.
Either due to the uncertainty of meeting outcome or decades of pent up animosities, some of the SL-TFG delegates who happened to be implanted next to one another following the initial (British pre-arranged?) nonspecific sitting arrangement, could be seen fidgeting in an attempt to create distance within the confined space of adjoined seats.
The Britons prowess in matters diplomatic is said to have won the day after a number of ice-breakers finally enticed the two sides to join the jokes and laughter. Once the SL &TFG teams that are originally of the oral society joined the banter, the British and co-hosts Norway and the European Union withdrew tortoise style thus jokes and laughter field left to the SL-TFG neighbours.
Once the ice broken and visual animosity frozen the British chair called the meeting to order with the announcement of meeting procedures, Then Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar and Abdisamad Ma’alim Mahmoud the SL & TFG team leaders respectively made their opening statements.
Following the opening statements by the two committee leaders, sitting arrangement proper ensued with the SL & TFG moving to facing seats and the co-hosts occupying the CHAIR.
Thus heated debates that saw both SL & TFG team members opt for the radical or Liberal thus some members of the two eliciting overt animosity and disagreement to views of others on ultimate objective of discussions while others again from the two taking a moderate stand in a bid to establish a middle ground consensus.
The most radical was TFG’s Ambassador to Djibouti Mr. Abdirahman Guulwade who continuously pestered the SL team with insinuations that Somaliland ceased to exist immediately it entered into its fateful union with Somalia in 1960.
Mr. Abdirahman who is married to Dictator Siyad Barre’s daughter and former commander of his father in-law’s hated Guulwade youth soldiers seemed to have been most vexed by Hon Feisal Ali Warabe of SL whom he time and again accused of refusing to talk to Somalia.
The vexing of Guulwade are said to have been negated by lackluster support from fellow TFG members and the apparent desire of the SL team to concentrate on tangible issues which was portrayed by their refusal to engage Guulwade.
Fears of the SL team were proved unfounded As per TFG representative Mr. Ahmed Aideed who is minister of Education and originally from Sool region in Somaliland. The said Aideed is reported to have uttered at the banter stage, a few words during the entire two days talks, an outcome that seemed to have confounded the Slanders.
Having established a measure of understanding, every issue discussed and agreed upon was noted and passed over to the co-hosts for recording thus the ultimate Chevening House Declaration.
SL-TFG Team leaders Consensus
Once all issues noted were revisited, the two team leaders held a separate meeting which streamlined the list which they appended their signatures to before submitting it to the co-hosts who then made the final copy of the declaration as signed by the SL-TFG team leaders Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar and Abdisamad Ma’alim Mahmoud respectively.
As opposed to the opening the talks that had radicals versus liberals it ended in harmony with even the diehard unionist Guulwade reported to have been completely won over to the side of the majority that desired constructive dialogue with meaningful impact.
Guulwade and Aideed were even seen laughing and joking all around