Sunday, September 10, 2006

SOPRI Convention In Full Swing

The 2006 Somaliland Convention opened at the Doubletree hotel, Washington DC, on Friday September 8th.

Over 900 participants from the Somaliland Diaspora – largely from North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific and Somaliland – as well as many friends of Somaliland attended the opening session. The participants included all ages and came from a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds. Among the Somaliland dignitaries attending the Convention are Hon. Abdulaziz Samaleh, Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives, Mr. Faisal Ali Farah, Chairman of UCID Party, Dr. Ahmed Hussein Essa, Foreign Secretary of Kulmiye Party. The President of Somaliland, who was expected to deliver the keynote address at the Convention did not attend, which disappointed the participants.

The Order of the Day included the burning question of international recognition for Somaliland as a sovereign independent state, maintenance of peace and security in the Horn of Africa, institutionalizing democratic practices and strengthening of democratic institutions, achievements realized and challenges faced.

The Convention focused on the burning issue of Somaliland’s quest for a seat at the international table of nations. The Participants detailed the numerous difficulties and hurdles that the lack of recognition imposes on the people, the government and the business community. These hurdles hampered Somaliland’s potential for economic and social development. The Convention also highlighted the responsibility of the government and political leaders in Somaliland to maintain peace and security and to partner with the international community in this vital area. The Convention acknowledged that the international community has both an interest in and a responsibility to support and assist Somaliland’s efforts in that regard.

The participants also raised a concern about the current constitutional crisis related to the extension of the term of the Guurti.

The evening closed with a fund raising event in support of Somaliland universities and academic institutions. The Washington area Somalilanders joined the Convention participants in a lively and enjoyable get-together with cultural music and dance.

SOPRI media office Washington, DC

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