His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilaanyo” and a high-level Government delegation met with President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland on Tuesday in Dublin, Ireland, where the Somaliland is currently on official visit.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed a variety of issues including Somaliland’s recognition, lessons learnt from peace-building in Somaliland, Ireland and the Horn of Africa, contemporary international relations, and present and future relations between Ireland and Somaliland.
The President’s presented the Somaliland case at the meeting. Transcribed below are the President’s opening remarks:“On behalf of myself, the delegation and the people of Somaliland I want to express my sincere thanks to you for your invitation to meet with us today. We have very much enjoyed our time in Ireland, and hope this visit can become a platform for a deep and lasting friendship between our countries.
“Somaliland is separated by geography and history from Ireland but we still feel a strong connection and kinship with the story of Ireland. As you know, Sir Richard Burton, the great explorer, described the people of Somaliland as the Irish of Africa. I like to think he was speaking of the intelligence, bravery, hospitality and dignity our peoples share. From the time I have spent in Ireland I now know the truth of his words.
“I know you have a longstanding interest in issues of justice around the world, and in particular in Africa. And I hope as you learn more of the story of Somaliland you can become an advocate for our pursuit of recognition. The desire of the Somaliland people for independence has been clearly demonstrated in elections and a referendum in 2001 and meets all the legal criteria for statehood under customary international law.
“Since our declaration of independence we have recovered from a legacy of conflict to build a peaceful, stable and democratic country. Our peace was brought about by locally-driven bottom-up solutions, and our development successes are the fruit of self-reliance and solidarity.
“Next year will mark the 25th Anniversary of Somaliland’s Independence, and it will also mark the 100th Anniversary of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence in 1916. Ireland was not immediately recognized by the international community and only became an Independent Republic in 1948. Ireland understands the unjustness of being a sovereign state but being denied international recognition and access to the international political arena. Once Ireland was allowed to join the UN, it made a lasting and constructive contribution to international peace. Somaliland wishes to follow in Ireland’s footsteps in terms of responsible international engagement. We have already demonstrated by our actions that we are a good neighbor and responsible regional and international partner.
“I am also pleased to meet a fellow graduate of Manchester University and know you studied migration, which is of course an issue of great relevance to both Ireland and Somaliland.
“I would like to thank you once again for the tremendous hospitality you have shown to us , and hope you and other representatives of Ireland may visit Somaliland in the future, so that we can repay the kindness you have shown us today.”
Watch the Video for the Two President Meeting