June 21, 2012 ·80 Comments
LONDON — A tense first day formal discussions between feuding neighbours Somaliland and Somalia in a secret location near London has run into rough weather on Wednesday.
According to sources in London issues such as Somaliland’s independence, bilateral ties and cooperation in key areas remain as the biggest hurdles. “The first day deliberation lasted five hours and the two sides remain deadlocked on number of issues,” the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Somalilandpress.
Somaliland, which enjoyed relative peace for the last two decades, primarily seeks Somalia to accept and acknowledge its statehood. Mogadishu believes the northern region is part of its integral territory.
Somaliland and Somalia’s transitional government have struggled to put their relationship on an even keel since joining into a temporary union in July 1960. Somaliland withdrew from the union in 1991 after a war that left hundreds of thousands of people killed says it has no plans to reunify.
The source said talks will resume later today (Thursday) and are expected to last the whole day. It further added the mediators — Britain, Norway and the EU might force the negotiations into an overtime– as they sought to find a compromise.
The sponsors said they want the two sides to clarify their future relations and where the two stood on issues such as foreign aid, security, development and cooperation.
Regional experts have said a breakthrough was unlikely any time soon considering this was the first face-to-face dialogue in 21 years. The private meeting between the rival sides has prompted speculation as to the timing– the transitional government’s term expires in August and is due to hand power over to a new permanent government.
Wednesday’s five-hour long meeting was a preparatory talk which could represent the start of the next stage of negotiations if common ground is established.
Both sides have sent a team of five members.
June 21, 2012