The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, Hon Abdillahi Mohammed Duale, has appealed to the Chairman of the African Union Commission (AU), President John Agyekum Kufuor, of Ghana, to consider the country's legitimate case to get international recognition and membership to the Commission.
Hon Abdillahi said for sixteen years now, his country Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia after almost a decade of civil war, has been seeking international recognition, but all to no avail.
The Minister made this appeal at a round-table discussion on how to help Somaliland gain international recognition to boost their economic and international relations worldwide. The discussion was under the theme, “Somaliland-Africa's best-kept secret.”
Hon Duale added that though an AU fact-finding mission was dispatched to the country in 2005 by the immediate past chairman of the commission, Alphar Oumar Konare, to assess the state of the nation, in her request to joining the AU, nothing has been done to the numerous recommendations of the mission which was headed by the then Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Hon Patrick Mazimhaka.
He said the non-recognition of the country causes harm to the nation and the continent at large, lamenting that they are not able to trade with other countries left alone offer support to the efforts of maintaining peace and stability in the “Horn of Africa”- the poorest part of the continent of Africa.
He queried the fairness of the Commission in granting Somalia a sovereign status and neglecting Somaliland, though they meet all the requirements of a democratic, sovereign and independent state.
“Somalilanders consider it only fair, that with the collapse of the Union, all parties need to be accorded recognition of their status as sovereign independent states prior to the Union, and this should apply to Somalia as well as the Republic of Somaliland” he said.
It will be recalled that Somaliland was a British Protectorate from1884 to June 26, 1960, when it had independence from Britain. Just four days after, it joined the former Italian Somalia to form the Somali Republic.
The Union did not work out as envisaged and did not meet the aspirations of Somalilanders. Indeed, this led to a civil war in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The Somali Republic, which was created out of the Union of Somaliland Republic and Somalia, collapsed.
After the collapse of the Somali Republic, the people of Somaliland held a congress in which it was decided that they withdrew from the Union with Somalia and to reinstate Somaliland's sovereignty. This led to parliamentary elections in 2003.
At the moment, the nation boasts of all characteristics of a sovereign state.