Mustafa Mohamed Omar, President of the Somali State of Ethiopia, arrived on an official visit to the Republic of Somaliland on road, Saturday.
The two sides gave brief, guarded statements to the press on the Somaliland side of the bustling border town of Wajaale where the Ethiopian delegation crossed to Somaliland.
“We are here to welcome the President of the Somali State of Ethiopia, Mustafa Mohamed Omar, who is visiting his second home – the Republic of Somaliland, as the Somali State is also ours,” the Somaliland Minister for interior and Internal Security, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, said.
Minister Kahin’s statement intended to emphasise that what the two sides shared could not be summed up succinctly and that few words would not do them justice.
President Mustafa was more forthcoming when it came to his turn.
“We are here to talk with the leaders and government of Somaliland on matters relating to the burgeoning relations between the two sides and the cooperation we have started on a number of areas which cover security, the economy, and social interaction among others,” he said, adding that such cooperation blossomed since he took office in 2018.
Cutting to the chase, President Mustafa touched on the most pressing, most relevant objective behind his visit.
“As Somaliland is a sisterly nation we love, it is imperative that we hold consultations on the shifting dynamics and the impact of new developments in the region in order to avert negative effects and cooperate on how to mutually manage them,” he said.
The two sides share more than that.
Almost all major clans in Somaliland have half or more of their populations on the Ethiopia side of the border – a fact that binds the two inextricably in more ways than one.
The threat posed by the advancing TPLF on the capital is expected to result in huge human displacements. Somaliland and Djibouti, observers predict, will receive tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of people seeking refuge from the armed engagements and tensions in Ethiopia.A wide cross-section of Somalilanders believe that the Somaliland- Ethiopia Somalia State alliance can somewhat diminish the threat on region that is inherent in what many call the ‘axis of evil’ formed by Abiy Ahmed with Farmajo of Somalia and Afewerki of Eritrea.
It is the fourth visit that President Agjar – as he is popularly called – pays to Somaliland since he come to power but the first since he was officially elected in October 2021 to the office he held as a caretaker for nearly three years following the arrest of his predecessor Abdi Muhumad Omar Iley.
President Mustafa is the only Somali President who calls the Republic of Somaliland on its true title without the least demur. Neither Guelleh of Djibouti nor the six federal presidents of Somalia dare admit the right of the Republic of Somaliland to restore its pre-union, internationally recognised sovereignty of 1960. Some out of grudge, some out of pure, unquestioning deference to the direction the larger flock go.