See also:
» 18.02.2011 - Somaliland opens "pirate prison"
» 11.02.2011 - Somali pirates to be returned from Seychelles
» 07.02.2011 - Seychelles negotiates pirate returns with Somalia, Somaliland
» 27.09.2010 - US near de-facto recognition of Somaliland
» 05.07.2010 - Somaliland poll hailed; recognition next?
» 14.04.2009 - Somaliland lash on Eritrea interference in Horn of Africa
» 05.06.2007 - Somaliland closer to recognition by Ethiopia
» 23.01.2007 - Somaliland launches new diplomatic offensive

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Somaliland frustrated over being ignored

afrol News, 16 August - The non-recognised state Somaliland is increasingly frustrated by the international society's focus on re-establishing a Somali government that is to speak on its behalf. While the Somalilander opposition speaks of cancelling future talks of a negotiated separation, exiles call for revenge over Djibouti, said to undermine Somaliland's recognition efforts.

Nobody disagrees that Somaliland has been an oasis of peace, stability and development in the Horn since the British ex-colony declared its independence from chaotic Somalia - or the ex-Italian colony - more than ten years ago. But years of lobbying and demonstrating the viability of Somaliland has not brought the breakaway republic any closer to international recognition.

It did however seem so. UN agencies operate from Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, not from Mogadishu, and they formally cooperate with Somaliland authorities. Several European government agencies have negotiated development programmed with Hargeisa. Western troops cooperate with Somaliland authorities in the "war against terrorism". British MPs call for the recognition of the republic.

These days, Somalilanders are waking up to a blue Monday. The Somali peace negotiations show signs of optimism and a new warlords' coalition government in Mogadishu may be in the making. The international community is overbidding itself in support messages, hoping to end the lawless conditions in Somalia. Somaliland is suddenly forgotten.

Following its doctrine that Somaliland is not part of Somalia - as the British ex-colony allegingly was in its full right to dissolve its union with former Italian Somalia - Hargeisa has not wanted to send representatives to the inter-Somali peace talks. After all, it is an internal Somali event, Somalilanders hold.

Nevertheless, representatives from "Somalia's Awdal, Woqooyi, Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag provinces" - also know as Somaliland - have participated in the Mbagathi peace talks, aiming at creating a unified Somali government. According to Somalilanders, these representatives are either traitors or appointed by the government of neighbouring Djibouti. In any case, they do not represent Somaliland, all agree.

As the Mbagathi peace talks start showing results, these "traitors" nevertheless suddenly pose a risk to Somaliland. If a new Somali government is to be formed, recognised by the international community and let represent Somalia in the UN, it will formally also represent Somaliland. The search for international recognition will be set back years.

Thus, these sudden events have caused strong reactions among Somalilanders. "The degree of rush in pledging support for the would-be government of Somalia, has even surprised the warlords assembled at Mbagathi to the extent that every one of them ... is already contemplating the best plans for having the largest piece of the cake for himself through either extortion or outright looting," comments the Hargeisa-based 'Somaliland Times' in a front page article.

The Somalilander opposition party, Kulmiye, reacted by saying it would no longer support the idea of holding talks formal with Somalia over the spilt-up of the 1960 Somali union. The new Kulmiye position is expected to put pressure on President Dahir Riyale Kahin's government to either follow suit or take a tougher stance.

Others call for more offensive action for President Riyale to meet the new "times of danger" ('Somaliland Times'). A much circulated article by Somalilander expatriate Farah Ali Jama suggests several ways of getting back on Djibouti, "our number one enemy." As Djibouti undermines Somaliland, Hargeisa should peacefully undermine Djibouti's economy by attracting Ethiopian trade, the popular article proposes.

While many Somalilanders tend to be radicalised by the apparent setback, others however warn that the unrecognised country now needs to keep its mind cool as the new Somali government will fail in any case. "An unkempt decision with an intention of 'controversy' ... could not only backfire but can be deadly," warns Mowliid Magare.

Even if the new Somali government will be hyped up by Western donors, it will not be able to create peace, stability and democracy in Somalia, critics hold. Although it may take time to wait for such a failure, yet another failed Somali government could only strengthen Somaliland's quest for international recognition. No one in Somaliland dears think about the possibility of a successful Mogadishu government.

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