After 10 years of fruitless talks with Somalia, the Somaliland public has expressed its frustration and lack of trust in leadership in Somalia. In this article, I will like to offer four principles that can help guide the decision-makers on the future of these talks.
The Somaliland and Somalia talks' should follow all of the following four principles:
Principle #1: Somaliland statehood is based on aspects that require international intervention; not Mogadishu's Approval.
Somaliland statehood is based on the following aspects:
These aspects are beyond the comprehension of Somalia and the majority of African countries in the AU. Despite what it thinks, Somalia is not the parent country of a 'secessionist' Somaliland. Anarchy is to expect Mogadishu, which cannot govern itself, to deal with aspects that are by nature for every sovereign country to collectively take a stand (international recognition). These are the main highlights of the African Union fact-finding mission on Somaliland.. If the Somaliland government is expecting international recognition through an approval process from Somalia, it means it has accepted to be a secessionist region within Somalia. This is a breach of Somaliland's constitution and a reveral of the 1991 declaration of indepedence.
Principle #2: Somaliland and Somalia talks are bilateral agenda; not a pre-condition to Somaliland's recognition.
This Principle is a natural consequence of the first. It is important to concede that Somaliland talks with Somalia are strictly
biliteral and should not affect the relationship between Somaliland and the rest of the world. It is unacceptable to make Somaliland recognition, for example, conditional on an agreement with Somalia. This is denying Somaliland's historical independence and unfairly treating it as a region seeking secession (again see Principle #1). Somaliland is not asking for a special arrangement here. The world demands Kosovo and Serbia to resolve their conflict. That did not stop over 100 countries to recognise Kosovo already. Important note: Somaliland is not a secessionist case like Kosovo, this example is to just explain this principle.
Principle 3: Somalia will recognise Somaliland only after all countries do
In a previous article, I have explained how Somalia will be the last country to recognise Somaliland mainly due to fear of other federal states seceding. We should not see this as a problem at all. There are precedents for this: Pakistan was the last to recognise Bangladesh's sovereignty (Important note again Somaliland is not a secessionist region ect...).
Principle 4: The talks will never end
Similar to Senegal and Gambia, Maylasia and Singapore and all other countries that ended their biliteral unions, Somaliland and Somalia will forever be two countries that will enjoy some sort of relations. Our final target should be to normalise these relations for the benefit of both countries. Before we reach that target, however, there will be breakdowns, pauses and breakthroughs similar to any other two sovereign countries with territorial disputes. Needless to say, talks should be ended, for example, if any of these four principles are broken by Somalia or other parties.
There you have it: four principles for any new policy on Somaliland and Somalia's talks. Putting it all together, we come to an important conclusion: the sooner countries recognise Somaliland's independence, the sooner Somalia and Somaliland can eventually fast-track their relations into a mature normalised brotherly bond.