February 21, 2012 ·9 Comments
Having considered the U.K. sponsored London peace conference for Somalis- scheduled to take place on Feb 23rd- non state actors (NSAs) have undertaken successive consultative meetingsto evaluate what interests are there for Somaliland to participate in the said conference. Having used its good working relationships with the international community and with the Somaliland Government, and having had different meetings in and outside of the country with top British officials, SONSAF was able to gather information about the London peace initiatives thereby rendering appropriate advice about the peace conference process.
In early Feb 2012, SONSAF met in Kampala, Uganda, a delegation led by the Second Secretary of the British High Commission in Nairobi, Mr. Chris Wall. The meeting was an important means to exchange essential information regarding the London peace conference. SONSAF told the British delegation that it is important to provide the Somaliland delegation with fitting and appropriate status and mechanisms that would allow them to state their case before the international community members’ gathering in London peace conference. SONSAF further stated that all possible precautionary efforts should be undertaken to ensure that the outcome of the London peace conference doesn’t affect the stability and peaceful conditions prevailing in Somaliland in the last two decades.
On the other hand, the British delegation told SONSAF that Somaliland was invited to the conference as it is seen an important and stable area that can contribute to the peace process. The officials further added that Somaliland was not invited as a result of pressure from other Somalis. The officials further clarified that Somaliland is not part of the peace process roadmap for Somalis. SONSAF requested that Somaliland be assisted in the areas of economic development, fight against the piracy, terrorist and strengthening of peace. Furthermore, SONSAF also told the delegation that if peace is to be created in Somalia, it is essential to learn from Somaliland’s peace and governance evolution.
On the same token SONSAF has had a meeting with the Government of Somaliland to update it on issues concerning the London peace Conference and the meetings that SONSAF had had with the members of the international community. Similarly, the Government informed SONSAF that the Somaliland delegation would be afforded special privileges and would be provided with the opportunity to speak before the international community and articulate their case in detail. The decision to participate in the London peace conference was made after a lengthy discussion with appropriate national institutions including the parliament, political parties, and non-state actors thus lending legitimacy to the process of participating in the London peace conference.
Thus taking all above into consideration, SONSAF recommends the following:-
First we advise the people of Somaliland- both residents and diaspora- that they should unite and support the Somaliland’s participation in London peace conference to ensure that productive decisions emerge from the conference particularly as regards Somaliland. Lobbying activities should be organized to ensure that decisions that come out from the conference support Somaliland’s sovereignty.
The Somaliland government delegation should exercise extreme caution with regard to the issues that can damage the sovereignty of Somaliland or weaken the peace that exists in Somaliland. It should be noted that Somaliland has not been part of the countless conferences held for Somalia since 1991; it should not be part of the “Road Map” which focuses on South-Somalia (former Italian Somalia)
either. This is an important issue that the international delegates coming to London peace conference should be aware of.
We also call upon the international community, especially Britain which is convening this conference, that if peace is to be created in Somalia then the international community should provide Somaliland with special privileges and considerations. In fact it is essential to learn from Somaliland particularly with regard to how it had established and sustained successful peace and governance system. Consequently, we call upon the international community to recognize Somaliland or at least provide it with “de-facto recognition” so that it can interact with the international community and seek international support to rebuild its economy and state apparatus. This is important as lack of recognition has prevented Somaliland from obtaining international support.
Finally we call upon Somalilanders who object to this conference not to engage in any activity that may weaken the position of the delegation at led by the President who are determined to put the Somaliland case before the huge delegates attending the London Peace Conference. The fact that Somaliland has been given special privileges and that it has been recognized as a separate entity is in itself an idea to be cherished and reckoned with.
Prof. Adam Haji Ali Ahmed