Thursday, 21 June 2012

Somalia and Somaliland

Here is the communique from the first formal direct talks between Somalia and Somaliland since Somaliland declared itself independent more than twenty years ago. The talks were facilitated by the UK, EU and Norway. They were held in a very posh place called Chevening House in the county of Kent in south-east England. It is the official residence of the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and the foreign secretary William Hague. 

Chevening House

The two sides have called on their respective presidents to meet as soon as possible. 

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia

President Ahmed Silanyo of Somaliland

Chevening House Declaration following talks between Somali Transitional Federal Government and Somaliland

1. Following the commitments in the London and Istanbul communiqués that the international community would support dialogue between the
Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (or its replacement) and Somaliland to clarify their future relations, the two sides met at a technical
level on 20‐21 June at Chevening.

2. The meeting was hosted by the UK and co‐hosted by Norway and EU, at the request of the two sides.

3. The purpose of these preparatory talks was to establish a framework for future substantive talks.

4. The participants of the meeting welcomed the opening of a dialogue and emphasised their commitment to the continuation of these talks.

5. The participants:
(i) Agreed that the talks would take place between two sides ‐ the TFG (or its replacement) and Somaliland, in accordance with paragraph 6
of the London Conference Communiqué and paragraph 10 of the Istanbul II Conference Communiqué;

(ii) Noted the need to adopt a common approach to avoid anything that would undermine the continuation of the talks as defined above;

(iii) Committed to the continuation of the talks and called on the two presidents to meet to review progress as soon as possible;

(iv) Called on the international community to continue to facilitate the talks, including providing the two sides with external experts on legal,
economic and security matters;

(v) Agreed to share experience on working more effectively with the international community on the use of development and humanitarian assistance for the people of both sides and called for the international community to increase that assistance;

(vi) Agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism and serious crime;

(vii) Agreed to cooperate in the fight against piracy at sea and on land, maritime crime, illegal fishing and toxic dumping; and

(viii) Reiterated their support for ending the Transition in Somalia.

The president of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, later met Somaliland's president, Ahmed Silanyo, in Dubai. They shook hands and released a document. I tried to explain the significance of this in an interview with BBC Focus on Africa. You can listen to it by clicking on this link:

Somalia and Somaliland - the Dubai meeting

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