Somalia: Who is facilitating Somalia-Somaliland talks?

Somaliland
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo [L] and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi [R] [File Photo]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The President of Somalia's Federal Government, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is expected to hold the first face-to-face meeting with the leader of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi in Djibouti, Garowe Online reports.

Reliable Sources revealed to GO that the new round of talks will be facilitating by Switzerland-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) which aims to pave the way for future formal talks between Somalia and Somaliland.

Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Former Somaliland Foreign Minister, who is currently a member of the executive board of HD is playing a significant role in the preparation of the meeting which is slated to be held next month, March.

Early this month, Switzerland said it is ready to host the talks between the two sides. Somaliland Foreign minister Sa’ad Ali Shire welcomed the move and said that the talks would be held soon, without giving specific dates.

Shire stated that President Farmajo and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi will set the agenda of the talks in Switzerland during the preliminary discussions in Djibouti next month.

Omar, based in Nairobi maintains close relations with Somali Government officials in Mogadishu hailing from Somaliland, a region in northern Somalia which declared independence in 1991.

The ex-minister is also a close ally and friend to Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and helps him coordination between his administration and the International community support. Abdi was elected last November 2017. 

The sources say officials from Somaliland in the Federal Government are lobbying the upcoming talks to focus on a new kind of deal based on a power-share between south and north ‘more powerful than’ current Federal states.

On the other hand, some reports suggest that Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" is following too closely the agenda of the forthcoming Somalia-Somaliland talks, but, unwilling to share the information with his people.

The two sides held two rounds of talks brokered by Turkey in Istanbul and Ankara in 2013 and 2015 that ended without a tangible breakthrough for their differences and row over the management of Somalia’s airspace.

Despite its nearly three-decade struggle to secure secession, Somaliland remains unrecognized as Mogadishu insists on the unity of Somalia as paramount.

GAROWE ONLINE