Africa: Speech By Mohamed Omar, Somaliland Foreign Minister At Africa Research Institute
By Mohamed Omar, 1 May 2013
Dateline-If Needed — This speech was presented by Mohamed Omar at Africa Research Institute on 1st May 2013 to mark the launch of “After Borama: consensus, representation and parliament in Somaliland”.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address this meeting about Somaliland.
The Borama Conference in 1993 was of critical importance for the future of our country. Broadly speaking, it had three major outcomes. First, it helped to establish a framework for managing security; second, it aided the definition of Somaliland’s political structures, which laid the foundations of an independent state; and third, it marked the transfer of power from the Somali National Movement to a civilian government.
The Transitional National Charter adopted at Borama reaffirmed Somaliland’s sovereign independence, a principle first proclaimed two years earlier at the Burco Grand Conference of the Northern Peoples.
In 2001, this decision was endorsed by a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted to maintain the country’s independence. Since then, the people of Somaliland have not wavered in their commitment to achieving international recognition of their status as an independent state.
The present government naturally shares this aspiration and has sought to advance the vision of an independent Somaliland which enjoys full international recognition. We have embarked on a process to achieve recognition through an incremental approach, by strengthening our governance, consolidating our democracy, reinforcing our security, and cooperating with other states, including both our neighbours and the major powers. President Silanyo’s recent visits to Ankara, Dubai, London and Washington are evidence of this.
Meanwhile, we have initiated talks with our neighbour Somalia in a historic departure from the policy adopted by previous Somaliland governments. Somaliland accepted the invitation to attend the London Conference on Somalia in February 2012, and our Parliament changed the law in order to permit President Silanyo to be present. We persuaded the UK as hosts to accept language in the final communiqué which recognised the need for the international community to support any dialogue that Somaliland and Somalia may agree in order to clarify their future relations. That in turn gave rise to the meetings at Chevening House and Dubai in June 2012, which launched the talks process. The meeting in Ankara on 13 April of this year saw the talks resume under Turkish facilitation, and we now plan a further meeting with Somalia in the next two to three months.