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Somaliland and Taiwan sign deal to open consulates in their territories

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The northern breakaway region of Somaliland has signed an agreement with Taiwan, an East Asian nation, which would see them open consulates in their territories as part of efforts to improve mutual cooperation between them.

The two states almost share a common history, given their secessionist agenda, which has since been Taiwan, popularly known as the Republic of China, break away from the People's Republic of China. While Taiwan is an independent nation, Somaliland is still struggling to achieve the status of a republic.

On Wednesday, Taipei announced the deal to establish offices in Hargeisa, a move which would also see Somalia's breakaway region also set an office in Taipei, Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs said.

The agreement was first signed in February, which was part of Taiwan's strategy to expand its presence within East and the Horn of Africa, a move that is geared towards boosting its international presence in other countries.

Joseph Wu, Taiwan's Foreign Minister, said the offices are official in nature and would boost diplomatic cooperation, despite the fact that both are still struggling to get international recognition due to their dark past.

“We’ve signed an agreement with Somaliland to establish good relations. A Taiwan Representative Office will be set up in this independent country on the Horn of Africa," Wu wrote on Twitter. "We’re thousands of miles apart, but share a deep-seated love of freedom and democracy."

Somaliland, which is currently negotiating with Somalia over the nature of their cooperation, has welcomed the agreement by Taiwan, adding that it would boost its international reputation, which it has struggled to gain ever since seceding from Somalia.

“The Government of Somaliland identified issues of mutual concern, including building-bridges of diplomacy; opening missions to boost political and socioeconomic links between the Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of China," read a statement from the ministry of foreign affairs.

Reports from the breakaway Somaliland indicate that President Muse Bihi Abdi has since appointed a consul to the Republic of China, who will represent Hargeisa on official missions. The arrangement is, however, not recognized by the international community.

In Djibouti, Somaliland is hoping to have a lasting solution on its cooperation with Mogadishu, three decades after the region established a parallel government and is considered as the most stable and progressive region in Somalia, despite their ugly history.

Ismael Omar Guelleh, the Djibouti president, brokered negotiations between the two parties, and a final agreement is anticipated in the next one month when joint ministerial teams meet in Djibouti for the compilation of final reports.

For the Republic of China, it has never been recognized by the international community hence not a member of the United Nations. The consuls from both states would transact businesses for their respective governments, reports indicate.


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