EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Somaliland to push African leaders on sovereignty 

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Somaliland foreign minister Saad Ali Shire poses for photo during an interview with Alleastafrica in Addis Ababa, Wed, 24,2017. Muluneh Gabre/Alleastafrica

The former British protectorate has been battling for an international recognition since it broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, however no country has so far recognize it as an independent state.

By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com

ADDIS ABABA –The breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland is moving with a mission of convincing African leaders to recognize the enclave as a sovereign state on the sidelines the 28th AU summit being held in the Ethiopian capital.

The former British protectorate has been battling for an international recognition since it broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, however no country has so far recognize it as an independent state.

In an exclusive interview with Alleastafrica.com on Wednesday, Saad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s foreign minister said his delegation which is currently on a visit in Addis Ababa will follow up a formal application the region submitted to the continental body back in 2005 by its former president, requesting recognition and membership as an independent state.

“If necessary we will submit new application.” Mr. Shire added

“Somaliland is a constitution of democracy. It’s a de facto state. It fulfills all the conditions of a state. But we’re still seeking the recognition of the international community for our sovereignty. We’re here to talk to African leaders to take note of Somali land state and of the importance of Somali land and of the role the AU should be playing in dealing with the issue of Somali land and Somalia.” he said.

Somaliland foreign minister Saad Ali Shire poses for photo during an interview with Alleastafrica in Addis Ababa, Wed, 24,2017. Muluneh Gabre/Alleastafrica
Somaliland foreign minister Saad Ali Shire poses for photo during an interview with Alleastafrica in Addis Ababa, Wed, 24,2017. Muluneh Gabre/Alleastafrica

He noted that Somaliland exists as result of stability and peace it maintains, with an elected president, parliament, local councils that he said are playing a major role in drawing the attention by the world.

“We would like, the AU to put first its agenda on the issue of Somaliland and Somalia as well.” He said.

Back In 2005, African Union sent a fact finding mission to to report on the situation and came to the conclusion that issue of Somaliland’s was a special case.

“The report has nothing to do with opening the Pandora’s Box or anything of that sort. It was the responsibility of the AU to consider this as a special case and deal with it. So this is a follow-up of that very meeting.” the minister said

Meanwhile, Mr. Shire has dismissed the typical references by many in the international community of Somaliland as a region ceding from another country.

“Somaliland was an independent country that joined with another independent country for union, which has dissolved that union.” He said, noting a 2001 referendum by the enclave which saw people overwhelmingly supported to leave the union.

“And just recently we have a petition on which over one million people signed in support of the independence of Somali land.” He added.

Somalia considers Somaliland is parts of greater Somalia, a suggestion repeatedly dismissed by Somaliland which maintains its status of being an independent state.

“We were with Somalia for 30 years. I think that was really enough. It was 30 years of bad experience with the union. In the past 25 years, we’ve been on our own. And, you know, there were no problems throughout those 25 years. So why go back to a union that did not work at all when we’re doing well without the union?.” the minister said in the lengthy interview with Alleastafrica.com

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