Resuscitated talks between the Republic of Somaliland and federal Somalia have bogged down after, according to confidential sources – and as was, also, reported by Somalia media outlets, Somalia insisted on writing two politically charged proposals onto a draft communique summing up areas of common interest.
BREAKING: Somalia, Somaliland talks at “difficult” stage, according to a reliable source. Technical teams continue to meet in Djibouti for the 3rd day. The main sticking point in negotiations is said to be the freedom of the movement of activists and politicians, per sources. pic.twitter.com/AdgYi2vsf3
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) June 17, 2020
Somalia, reports indicate, insisted on including:
- Somaliland lift restrictions from all social integration activities and movements between the two areas by persons and groups travelling between Somaliland and Somalia.
- Federal Somalia allocates a per cent of overall aid flow to Somaliland but that all incoming international aid and/or investments be processed onwards to Somaliland by the Somalia Central Bank.
Technical committee members on the Somaliland side rejected both of these proposals outright.
The first proposal aimed to give an open forum to a program the Farmajo government initiated during its tenure whose objective was to sway Somaliland public support for its restored sovereignty. The programme funded pockets of potential moles and supporters among traditional leaders, youth, women, political figures, universities’ populations and academicians. Offices to welcome Somaliland renegades and mercenaries looking for economic opportunities in Somalia had even been openly launched in Mogadishu in recent years.
Somaliland government and its public see a proposal along these lines as a permission for political campaigning in favour of another Somalia-driven reunion and a more disastrous domination.
Somaliland-born politicians who held high positions in Somalia administrations rejecting the Somaliland statehood see it otherwise. Ismail Hurreh Buubaa who had, at one time, held the Somalia Foreign Ministry in the ’90s is one.
Decriminalizing and depoliticizing travelling between Somaliland and Somalia would constitute the least basic litmus test of improvement for potential success and possible normalization of relations between them.
— Ismael M. Hurreh (@buube_99) June 17, 2020
The second point was meant to neutralize – go back on – a statement in the communique of 14 June – following the opening, goodwill statements of Presidents Bihi and Farmajo and those of the host Guelleh and the Ethiopian PM, Abiy Ahmed.
That first communique re-affirmed a ‘non-politicization of development’ initiatives. This particular point has been reached by delegated representing the two sides in 2014 meetings in Turkey and Djibouti but the Somalia government chose to unilaterally rescind it.
Sources add that the Djibouti government is making a frantic shuttle between the delegates to bridge differences of view in order for the resumed dialogue to produce a workable communique.
Stalled Somaliland and Somalia talks sputtered off to a good start on Sunday, 14 June, following an intensive effort the US Ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland, Donald Yamamoto, and the President of the tiny African state of Djibouti put behind another attempt to bring the two sides together in Djibouti.
technical committees representing the two parties started Monday to thrash together areas of mutual interest and of benefit to the peoples’ represented which would have been concluded today, Wednesday.
It remains to be seen if President Guelleh can yet save the day.