Somaliland: Deni Attempts to Sidetrack Somaliland Sovereignty on Olive Branch Wave

President Saeed Abdullahi Deni of the Somalia Federal State of Puntland waved a tricky olive branch for peace with Somaliland stating that peace had no substitute in his policies.

President Deni, speaking at the launching of a book called ‘The Somali Peace Register’, written in the Somali language, stated that nothing that he intended to open peace dialogue with the Republic of Somaliland.

“My first call goes to Somaliland. I call on them to come to justify on Puntland areas they have encroached on. Even the shirt on your back can be the subject of dispute with someone claiming it is his,” he said.

The President, however, made no bones about his objective behind the call. He made it clear that he aimed to quiz Somaliland on why, as he termed it, it made an incursion into ‘Puntland areas’.

President Deni did never mention that he may concede the point if Somaliland insisted that he, himself, should confine his administration to the 1960 boundaries between Somaliland and the Somalia his state is part and parcel of.

The President of the Somalia Federal state did not, at any point during his brief address, allude to the difficult-to-resuscitate, sputtering talks between the republic of Somaliland and Somalia during which the point he made about land dispute could be raised if and when they re-start.

It was obvious that President Deni wished to lay a political trap for Somaliland politicians, banking on their habitual off-the-cuff responses on serious matters without considering the consequences.

If Somaliland at any point welcomes dialogue with Puntland on regions that were traditionally, geographically and historically Somaliland regions, as an analyst pointed out on Twitter, it would mean that Somaliland legitimized Puntland as a country on par with it.


Puntland claims jurisdiction over large areas of Sool and Sanaag regions by virtue of clan allegiances arguing clan boundaries were more potent than all other types of boundaries including precolonial, international borders favoured by the AU and the UN.

Puntland had often demanded that Puntland play a leading, decisive role in Somalia-Somaliland talks claiming that Somalia had no cause to open a dialogue with Somaliland without tabling the Puntland claims over Sool and Sanaag – a point that Somalia had no cause to raise with Somaliland as each was to confine to its internationally-recognized boundaries. Without that basic observation, no talks were possible.

In 1991, Somaliland re-affirmed the independence it ceded to a Greater Somalia dream uniting with Italian Somalia in 1960. The dream never materialized as Djibouti, eastern Ethiopia Somalis and the Northern Frontier District of Kenya opted to stay within the countries they were part of. The five-pronged star on the Somali Republic flag of 1960-69 never filled out.

Elders within the boundaries of the pre-60 British Protectorate of Somaliland came together in Burao and resolved on 18 May 1991 that the Republic of Somaliland was to go on its own from then on.

Since then, the unrecognized, 28-year-old republic has built a modern, ultra-democratic state becoming an oasis of peace, stability and democracy in an otherwise volatile region contrasting the chaos, lawlessness and constant strive in Somalia.

Puntland is one of the few areas that have achieved relative stability in a federal Somalia broken into five state administrations and Mogadishu each of which has its own president, flag and parliament in accordance with a federal constitution that unites them.

Puntland came to be in 1998 sweeping into its fold all clans which shared lineage with the dominant clans in Garowe, Bossasso and Galkayu, including those within Somaliland international borders.