June 19, 2012 ·90 Comments
MOGADISHU — The transitional federal government of Somalia has officially announced its negotiation team for the upcoming talks with Somaliland.
The first round of direct talks between the two sides are due to kick off in London on Wednesday and each has designated a team for the first ever face-to-face dialogue.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has entrusted the all important inaugural meeting with a small team of five core members–three ministerial officials and two members of Parliament.
Somalia’s negotiating team, headed by interior minister Abdisamad Mo’alin Mohamed, left Mogadishu for London Tuesday morning. Mr. Mohamed voiced optimism over his government’s engagement with Somaliland for the first time in two decades before he left on his trip.
“I am hoping the deliberations will produce a positive outcome for Somalia. The committee I am heading is ready to embark on a trip to London,” he told local press.
The British government is making an effort to open a window of opportunity for dialogue between Hargeisa and Mogadishu. A final communiqué issued during a conference on Somalia in London in February of this year called the two sides to clarify their relations.
This week’s gathering is expected to lay the groundwork for crucial negotiations in the near future to resolve key issues including border disputes, citizenship, partition, unity and other pressing topics.
The Somaliland side seeks full diplomatic recognition and the acceptance of Somalia as a sovereign nation. Somaliland minister of information Abdulrahman Yusuf Duale said on Thursday that divisions between Somaliland and Somalia was like “the sky and earth” — burying any hope for a unity.
Somalia views Somaliland as an integral part of a united and federal Somalia. They vowed to satisfy Somaliland on a path of reunification.
Somaliland temporarily joined into a never rectified union with Somalia in July 1960 to form the Somali Republic. The union collapsed after years of heavy fighting that left more than 50,000 people dead in Somaliland and millions displaced across the border in Ethiopia. Somaliland says if the union is reinstated another heavy war is imminent.
The team from Somalia includes, along with Mr. Mohamed, TFG ambassador to Djibouti, Abdi Hussein Gulwade, minister for education and culture, Ahmed Aideed Ibrahim, MP Hussein Hassan and MP Mohamed Hassan Adan.
Mogadishu has removed two ministers from the Puntland region from its list. Hargeisa protested their nomination saying such talks should take between Somaliland and Somalia as two nations not with a regional administration.
The British government is expected to invite key allies and regional powers to the preparatory meeting. The Somaliland negotiation officials left Berbera on Sunday for London (see UK facilitates first ever Somaliland-Somalia direct talks).
June 19, 2012Follow @somalilandpress