Somaliland, the breakaway region, has indicated unequivocally that it has no intention of discussing union with Somalia.
This proclamation appears to contradict Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s previous announcement that he is willing to act as a “unification mediator” between the two governments. Despite declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has struggled to achieve significant international recognition for its independence.
Late Sunday, the Somaliland administration issued a statement stating that any conversation between Somaliland and Somalia would not include union. The emphasis would instead be on charting different courses for the two once united countries.
Somaliland, which has enjoyed relative calm for more than three decades while its neighbor is embroiled in civil war, has stated that it has no plans to engage in discussions concerning Somalia’s unity.
Some clan leaders living in disputed areas along Somaliland’s border with Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state have indicated a wish to be considered part of Puntland rather than Somaliland.
This condition has resulted in tensions and minor clashes.
Heavy combat erupted in February between Somaliland forces and militias in and around the disputed town of Las Anod.
President Museveni’s statement about acting as a mediator for unification came shortly after his meeting with Jama Musse Jama, Somaliland’s special envoy.
During the conference, Museveni underlined the importance of Somalia and Somaliland moving beyond identity politics if their respective countries are to flourish. Museveni’s deputy press secretary, on the other hand, declined to comment on Somaliland’s new proclamation, leaving the Ugandan government’s official position unknown.
As of now, Somalia’s ministers of information and interior have not reacted to calls for comment on Somaliland’s statement. However, Somalia has consistently considered Somaliland to be part of its territory and has indicated a desire for unification with the breakaway area.
While the situation remains fluid, Somaliland’s steadfast rejection of unity discussions provides a new aspect to the two nations’ delicate relationship.