The honorable ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Dr. Saad Ali Shire and Essa Ahmed Yussuf ‘Hawar”, responded lifelessly to a first-time Federal of Somalia visit to large parts of the Republic of Somaliland.
Minister Saad called the visit “an aggression” and a “violation of international boundaries”, stating that such an action ‘may’ lead to a ‘confrontation’.
Minister Essa, a newcomer to Somaliland politics and a former opponent of Somaliland sovereignty, who, himself, comes from the areas in question, called the whole area ‘borderland’.
“As you know,” he told Eryal TV “areas at the border pose difficulties.” To the minister, Badhan, Hadaftimo, Dhahar and all the areas in between are frontline communities.
Mr. Essa, as the country’s Defense Minister, was expected to – at least – issue a severe warning, threatening action if the visiting delegation does not evacuate the area ‘immediately”. He did nothing of the sort.
The lackluster, weak responses to a situation, which Somaliland nationals saw as a crisis, angered – and embarrassed – the whole of Somaliland.l
Jamal Mohamed Hassan, Minister for Planning and Investments for the Federal Republic of Somalia, openly toured the cities of Badhan, Dhahar, and Hadaftimo – the first time a Somalia minister officially visits the area in nearly 30 years.
Mr. Jamal laid foundation stones for so-called ‘developmental projects’ which included roads, schools, wells, security stations, and health posts.
To a community that has seen little of Somaliland development schemes for the past 27 years, the Federal Minister’s visit was a ray of hope even if it eventually proves ephemeral and false as past undertakings did.
Accompanying the minister on this highly political visit were 16 MPs from the Federal Government of Somalia and Puntland, led by the House Speaker of the Puntland Federal State Parliament, Hon. Ahmed Ali Hashi.
“Our visit is purely a development-based one, looking at areas that can be developed to benefit the community,” minister Jamal told the BBC. To add insult to injury, the BBC repeatedly referred the area as a ‘disputed area’ between Somaliland and one of the federal states of Somalia – Puntland. The BBC reporter also equated the Somaliland government as an administration equal to status as that of Puntland.
“Did you meet any officials of the two administrations in any of the areas you visited,” the BBC reporter asked Minister Jamal.
“Puntland officials are part of my delegation and their security forces are accompanying us,” he said, pointing out that there was no sight of Somaliland presence in the areaqs he visited.
The former Somalia ambassador to Kenya who soundly defeated Somaliland diplomacy before, at the time the Meru Governor promised closer cooperation with Somaliland following a visit he made to the country, originally hails from eastern Sanaag.
Since the new Somaliland government has taken over the reigns, Somalia accelerated its military and diplomatic aggression against Somaliland: it invaded the border areas of Qoriley & Gumburka killing civilians; it peppered Garad Jama Ismail’s convoy with bullets at Tukaraq; it announced takeover of Somaliland airspace and it sent ministerial delegation to parts of Somaliland.
All of above augur ill for talks that have been jumpstarted by the international community in London in 2012 which eventually petered off to total stagnation in 2016. In theory, the talks are only kept alive on occasion by half-hearted references to them here and there.