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Somaliland Intends to Attend London Summit
Shift in Policy Seen as Somaliland Seeks to Demonstrate Independence
By AWEYS CADDE 02/05/2012
President Silanyo meeting with elders, in black tie at centre
Aweys Cadde
President Silanyo meeting with elders, in black tie at centre
Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Somaliland has declared that they will attend the upcoming summit which the British government will host in London on 23rd this month, discussing the current situation of Somalia. Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar has expressed their readiness to join the conference, after the three Somaliland political parties and the government agreed upon the issue.

Speaking to local media on Saturday night, the minister stated that 80% of Somaliland's people supported participation in the meeting, which he said will help Somaliland to express their intention and to demonstrate to the world their independence.

“It’s clear that this meeting will give special attention and opportunity to Somaliland people. Somaliland will take part in the meeting just as other countries are taking part, in order to deliver our opinion towards security issues, fighting against terrorism and how to get aid for the Somaliland people. Also, Somaliland will showcase to the countries taking part in the meeting of our self-reliance," said the minister.

Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Siilaanyo recently said that they will open discussions with the different sectors of Somaliland people and the three political parties in the country, while some people are asking themselves why they should participate in a conference on Somalia since they used to reject similar invitations before.

The foreign minister has convinced people of the importance of this conference and that this conference is different from those that came before, because now Somaliland can express their independence and desire for recognition from the world.

Somaliland experts believe that the conference is vital for the future of Somaliland, when you look at the preparation and the way Britain is determined to help Somalia.

“It’s one of the biggest opportunities for the Somaliland government since they declared their independence from Somalia. They can tell the world that they are an independent nation, that they have implemented democracy. Two presidential elections have safely taken place over the last 10 years, so the world must understand what the people of Somaliland want,” Prof Isma’il Kayse, a Somaliland political analyst, told Somalia Report.

Britain Renews Their Interest in Somalia

British minister for African Affairs Henry Bellingham has recently stated that they will give priority to resolving the crisis in Somalia, which has suffered war for more than 20 years and the reason why his government is holding a meeting for Somalia is to help the Somali people.

“I hope one of the reinforced issues in the meeting should be the support of the AMISOM troops, the TFG forces, and human rights and justice agencies. Another agenda should be for the international community to work closely with the Somali people. We hope to have a strong united stand against piracy and terrorism,” he said. "The British government has taken part in alleviating the problem in Somalia, and the existing problem has directly affected us. UK has offered humanitarian aid worth $90 million and the meeting which will take place in London will be one which will open the eyes of the world towards Somalia," he added. Almost 40 countries and international agencies will attend the meeting, while the Britain government renewed her interest for Somalia after naming their ambassador for Somalia and at the same time on Thursday the Britain secretary of foreign affairs William Hague visited Mogadishu.

The Somali’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the semi autonomous state of Puntland, pro-government Islamic moderate militias of Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaah (ASWJ), Galmudug regional state, Somaliland and other Somali administrations were all invited to London conference and there are massive preparations for that conference.

Somaliland's Attendance

One of the most interesting issues is that the Somaliland administration is for the first time attending a conference on Somalia, since they were previously opposed to conferences with the Somali leaders and discussing their independence. They believe that they are an independent government from the rest of Somalia and that no negotiations are needed on that issue.

Somaliland seems to have drawn back from their strong stand, while they see they can forward their political ambitions and their independence in front of the international community, by taking advantage in participating in the meeting discussing the Somali affairs.