US senator advocates for 'split' of Somalia


WASHINGTON - In yet another twist that could trigger a diplomatic row between the US and Somalia, a senior politician from Washington DC has called for the split of Somalia, a policy which has repeatedly been opposed by various states across the continent.

Senator Jim Risch, the ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says President Joe Biden's administration should engage Somaliland, adding that the “one Somalia” policy doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground.

“I’ve urged the US State Department to engage with Somaliland and not ignore its democratic progress,” Senator Risch said adding that as US's “allies praise Somaliland’s election progress this week, the US admin is silent given that the “one Somalia” policy doesn’t reflect the reality of what’s happening there”, Senator Risch said on 27 April.

Somaliland claimed independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been running a parallel government, away from that of Mogadishu. Interestingly, the international community maintains Somalia remains a unitary state which cannot be split.

The senator's remarks come after members of the international community welcomed the official announcement last week of the Somaliland election timeline by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Somaliland President Musa Bihi Abdi's subsequent decree formalizing the election date on 13 November this year.

The partners said the decisions were “important steps towards ensuring that elections are held on 13 November 2024”, the international partners said and pledged their “commitment to working With the National Electoral Commission and all election stakeholders to support the delivery of inclusive free and fair elections in respect of the announced and agreed timeline.”

Somalia maintains Somaliland is part of her territory and recently, it unleashed on Ethiopia which engaged Somaliland for a portion of the Red Sea for the construction of a port and military base. In return, Ethiopia pledged to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign country.

The Somali government has maintained that it won't engage Ethiopia until it withdrawals the controversial agreement. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has since reached out to Turkey for support and Ankara is set to dispatch warships to Somalia’s coastline.


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