The president of the Republic of Somaliland, His Excellency Musa Bihi Abdi, has, at the head of a high-level delegation he led, jetted off to Saudi Arabia on an official invitation from His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz.
All the members of the delegation have travelled on Somaliland diplomatic passports casting aside foreign passports some them held on the insistence of His Excellency the President. the move aimed to preempt the usual, propaganda-laced claims of the weak administration in Mogadishu who would have surely contended that it was they who, in fact, sent them Somaliland leaders the invitation as part of the Somalia delegation and that Somalia passports were used.
The King sent the Somaliland delegation a private, royal jet to collect them from Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport direct to the Kingdom.
The President, according to a statement issued by the Presidency, would meet His Majesty King Salman, and high members of his government and the Royal family right after the completion of the Hajj obligation, which would constitute the first leg of the President’s visit to the Kingdom.
While there, President Bihi will, also, take advantage of the opportunity by meeting other heads of states from the Islamic world with whom he and his delegation will brief them on Somaliland affairs dispelling many fallacies and unfounded claims on jurisdiction which Villa Somalia has been amply spreading around without substantiation.
The Ministers of Interior, Religious Affairs, and Public Works, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, Khalil Abdullahi Yussuf and Abdirashid Duale, respectively, and Ali Waran’adde, special advisor to the President, accompany the President on this trip. Vice Minister, Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail, the Vice President, saw them off.
Somalia and Somaliland are, presently, two totally different governments since 1991 and the collapse of the military regime that held them together by force since 1969 and the collapse of an ill-fated, Somalia-dominated union which brought the Ex-British Protectorate and the Italian Trusteeship of Somalia in 1960. But, Somalia – the junior partner in that union, which is much weaker than Somaliland democratically and governmentally has taken upon itself to claim it owned Somaliland, and that, in fact, the 28-year-old ‘miracle of Africa’ was nothing but another state under Mogadishu.
Somaliland has never participated in any of Somalia’s government and peace-building conferences and has built an enviable modern state with democratically elected heads of state, legislative and municipal assemblies. Somalia still relies on a handful of elders voting MPs to parliament who, in turn, elect the President behind closed doors heavily guarded by foreign troops bankrolled by a well-wishing but a civically ignorant international community.
Somaliland has not benefited, thus far, from its unreserved support to Saudi Arabia, specifically, on its diplomatic tiff with Qatar. The UAE, a member of the Saudi coalition, has been granted a base and a thirty-year Port Management concession in Berbera. The projects it has promised to implement in exchange for the honour are yet to materialize.
The Saudis, furthermore, have tried but later withdrew an order to force Somaliland livestock exporters to secure Somalia certificates of origin for export to the Hajj season.
This, in all contexts, is an astounding breakthrough for the beleaguered, much-wronged nation that had been oft-termed as a miracle in the Horn of Africa.