The president of Somaliland has called on the international community to recognise the independence of the region and warned that unless Somalia “accepts the reality of two independent nations,” his government will explore international legal avenues.
Though Somaliland was a former British Protectorate, it came under control of Somalia, just five days after the region gained independence in 1960. However, on May 19, 1991, Somaliland seceded from Somalia and declared independence, and still awaits widespread international recognition. A 2001 referendum reaffirmed the country’s independence from Somalia.
Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi, in his speech to mark the 29th anniversary of the independence declaration, said that “the only agenda that can bring Somaliland and Somalia to a negotiating table is one based on two countries talking mutual interests and good neighbourly relations”.
“Somalia and anybody else who wishes to mediate between the two of us should accept the inalienable, undeniable reality of a sovereign Somaliland talking with a sovereign Somalia on issues that foster brotherly relations, our people and the region,” he added.
“I repeat in a loud voice that unless Somalia accepts the reality of two independent nations talking on equal terms, it should forget a dialogue between the two.”
“We will submit our case to an international court if Somalia continues to insist on a Somaliland it rules.”