Friday, July 06, 2007

Communiqué on the Visit to Ghana of the Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Occasion of the African Union Summit, 23 June- 3 July 07, Accra

(Waridaad) - 1. On the instructions of His Excellency President Dahir Rayale Kahin, President of the Republic of Somaliland, the Foreign Minister of Somaliland Minister Abdillahi Duale paid a Visit to Ghana from 23 June to 3 July 2007.

2. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland was accompanied by the Ghanaian & Western African Special Envoy on Somaliland, Mr. Steve Mawuenyega and other senior African advisors.

3. The Ghanaian Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo welcomed the Foreign Minister of Somaliland and his delegation to Ghana, and reiterated Ghana’s commitment to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa as a pre-requisite to continental union.

4. The two countries acknowledged the need to advance and consolidate Somaliland’s stability, its emerging democracy and peace in the Horn of Africa.

5. The Parties reaffirmed the need to identify key areas such as education, economic investments as a vehicle to drive forward areas of co-operation between the two countries. Ghanaian business institutions expressed willingness to share their expertise for Somaliland’s up-coming Presidential election identification process and investment opportunities.

6. Both Parties noted that since the establishment of Somaliland’s presidential and parliamentary democracy in 2003 and 2005 respectively, a number of bilateral agreements including on Development and Security Co-operation have been signed with Ethiopia and the UK.

7. During the Visit, the Foreign Minister of Somaliland, met with key Ghanaian institutions such as the chair of Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, the Commandant of Koffi Anan International Training Centre, the Head of Ghanaian Investment Development Centre. The Minister also met with his counterparts the Foreign Ministers of Kenya and Ethiopia and the representatives of a number of countries such as South Africa, Cape Verde, Canada, Portugal, Turkey and USA, on the sidelines of the AU Summit.

8. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland congratulated HE President John Kufoor for his tenure as Chairman of the African Union and for successfully hosting the AU Heads of States and Government Summit during his visit to Ghana where issues of continental integration were discussed and ratified, including the key protocol on the African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defence pact, which is critical for the integration and success of the African Union.

9. The two Parties also exchanged views on the latest regional, continental and international developments. Both Parties recalled Nepad’s strategic goal of advancing stability and good governance in Africa as the official development policy of Africa.
The Foreign Minister of Somaliland briefed the Foreign Minister of Ghana on the growing bi-lateral relations with Somaliland’s key neighbour Ethiopia and the on-going exchange of visits between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa including the recent meeting of the Ethiopian Foreign Minister of State in Hargeisa with H.E. the Somaliland President and the recent meeting of H.E. the Ethiopian Prime Minister with H.E. the Somaliland President in Addis Ababa. Also discussed was the recent successful meeting held between the President of Somaliland and the Italian Minister for African Affairs as well as the briefings on the visit to Sweden and Norway.

10. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland commended and thanked the Foreign Minister of Ghana for raising the matter of Somaliland at the Executive Council Meeting of the African Union on 29 June 2007. Both Parties, recalled that Professor Alpha Konare, Chairman of the African Union Commission, while presenting his annual report at this Executive Council meeting emphasised that the African continent had to deal with the reality of Somaliland’s existence and to engage with the unsettled international legal status. This follows through on the African Union’s Executive Council Meeting in Addis Ababa of 26 January 2007, where the then Chairman of the Executive Council from the Republic of Congo, concluded:

“…there is a reality in Somaliland that cannot be ignored. …. We cannot afford to close our eyes or shy away from that reality. It is in the interest of Africa to pay attention to these issues. There were positive developments in Somaliland , including the restoration of stability and peace, the establishment of democratic institutions and processes and the efforts deployed internally towards reconstruction. Some of these achievements in Somaliland should inspire the rest of Somalia . This is an issue that is now known to the African Union policy organs and it should be discussed at an appropriate time”.

The Foreign Minister of Somaliland briefed his counterparts that Somaliland has taken the principled policy decision to allow diplomacy to take its path, since its engagement with the African Union since 2003. Its now 16 years since the establishment of Somaliland and its people have patiently endured the pain of the difficulties of non-recognition, notably the pain of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals, especially in health, education and housing. It clear that the international community, via the regional body IGAD, is holding Somaliland’s people and its children prisoner to events in Mogadishu, by suggesting that Somaliland await the outcome of the up-coming Mogadishu National Reconciliation Conference. IGAD countries are intensely divided, more concerned about Mogadishu and are unable to engage Somaliland’s case for self-determination and to advance this emerging democracy as a reliable partner of the family of nations.

The Foreign Minister of Somaliland expressed with regret that that the delay of advancing the case of Somaliland will sadly lead the Government of Somaliland and its people to review its existing foreign and defense policy and to seriously consider other options. The clear neglect of Somaliland’s urgent humanitarian and development needs by the international community has led the masses and many senior Somaliland elders to question the credibility and legitimacy of promoting the diplomatic approach to Somaliland’s quest for international recognition.

The Foreign Minister of Somaliland further re-iterated that Somaliland wishes good relations with Somalia and to see Somalia a stable and peaceful neighbour. We are ready to share our experience of national reconciliation, state building and the creation of a successful democracy and to assist in stabilising the south in any way we can. The Minister urged the Transitional Federal Institutions to focus on stabilising the still difficult situation in Mogadishu rather than opposing the reality that is Somaliland’s independent status. The TFG’s obstructionist and uncreative approach to Somaliland’s quest for international recognition and further developing its nascent democracy adds unnecessary tension in the Horn of Africa and undermines its own efforts to stabilise Mogadishu.

11. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland commended the Ghanaian Parliamentary delegation for its fact-finding visit to Somaliland in March 2007. Both Parties reiterated that peace, democracy and stability are a prerequisite for socio-economic development in the region and the continent.

12. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland commended Ghana as a non-permanent member for its role at the United Nations Security Council and for advancing the African agenda.

13. Discussions were conducted in a friendly and frank manner reminiscent of the re-emerging sisterly links between the countries.

14. The Foreign Minister of Somaliland on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Somaliland and its people expressed his gratitude to HE President John Kufoor, the Government and the people of Ghana for the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation throughout their stay in Ghana. The Minister, once again, expressed Somaliland’s appreciation for hosting H.E. President Kahin’s on the historic occasion of Ghana’s 50 Years Celebration on 3 March 2007.

ISSUED IN ACCRA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of
Somaliland,3 July 2007

Inquiries: + 233 24 941 41 87 or +233 24 344 47 19 Mr. Steve Mawuenyega

Notes for Editors:

1. Somaliland was a British Protectorate. It gained independence on 26 June 1960, was recognised as an independent state and then voluntarily joined on 1 July 1960 the ‘Somali Democratic Republic’.

2. The union went disastrously wrong for Somaliland. Somalilanders were excluded from decision-making and discriminated against. The Somali Republic descended into a civil war in which Somaliland was invaded and destroyed by the military regime of Siyad Barre.

3. The Republic of Somaliland, as re-constituted on 18 May 1991, is a reversion to the independent state of Somaliland of 1960 within the same agreed borders of the 1960 state. It did not secede from the Somali Democratic Republic, but reverted to the status quo ante.

4. Somaliland is a functioning democracy with an elected President and Assembly. Its independence was emphatically endorsed by Somalilanders in a referendum in 2001. Its one of the only countries in Africa where the opposition parties have a majority in its Parliament.

5. An African Union fact-finding mission in 2005 acknowledged that Somaliland’s independence does not set a precedent for the redrawing of colonial boundaries in Africa because Somaliland has simply re-declared itself an independent state within its former British colonial boundaries.

6. On 26 January 2007, the Rwandan Foreign Minister proposed to the AU Executive Council that the matter of Somaliland be discussed. The proposal was opposed by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and as a consequence was not agreed. The Government of Somaliland believes nonetheless that this discussion was an initial first step towards getting the AU member states seized with the Somaliland issue.

7. Abdillahi Mohamed Duale was appointed Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland in August 2006 and HE President Dahir Rayale Kahin was elected President of Somaliland in 2003.

Further reading:

The African Union & Somaliland
in the Horn of Africa
Accra 1-day Symposium, Wednesday 27 June 2007

Hosted by Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre
in conjunction with the
University of South Africa’s
Department of Religious Studies and Arabic
Supported by Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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