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Somalia: Somaliland leader softens tone on talks with Mogadishu

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

HARGEISA, Somaliland – The president of the breakaway Somaliland, Muse Bihi has dramatically softened his tone in the talks with the Federal Government of Somalia in Mogadishu on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.

In his address on the occasion of the 28th anniversary since Somaliland declared unilateral succession from the greater Somalia, Bihi called for the resumption of the stalled negotiations between the two sides.

“Let us end this decade’s long senseless misunderstanding and share brotherhood, peace, investment and business between our people,” said the self-declared republic president during his speech on 18th May.

The Somalia-Somaliland talks have been in stalemate for more than four years since the last round of talks held in Turkey in 2015 that ended without result due to tough conditions set by the two sides.

Prior to the forum, former Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held meetings with ex-Somaliland leader Ahmed Silanyo in Djibouti, December 2014 and in Turkey in 2013 following meditation efforts.

Now both parties have relatively new governments with neither of them taking bold steps to return to the negotiating table as Somalia’s international partners call to salvage the protracted stalled “unity” talks.

The talks officially begun after the London Conference on Somalia, held at Lancaster House on February 23, 2012, which marked the first high-level conference organized for Somalis since 1991.

Political analysts say neither side has given the talks the essential weight they deserved. Their lack of sincerity and seriousness made the past negotiations held in UK, Djibouti, and Turkey bear no fruits.

Somaliland’s quest for an independent state is a slap in the face of the Federal Government which says "Somalia’s unity is non-negotiable". This remains the “most divisive and emotive” dimension of the talks.

Currently, several countries, including Eritrea, Djibouti, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Some EU member states have shown interest in facilitating talks between Somaliland and Somalia.

The role of the international community in supporting the dialogue was only limited to the facilitation and expected the Somalis to come up with agreed action points during the last rounds of negotiations.


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