HARGEISA – The Government of the Republic of Somaliland signed a historic unity agreement with a rebel organization based in south-eastern Somaliland on Saturday.
Khatumo State, a rebel organization that has been fighting for autonomy since 2012, agreed to put down arms and unite with the rest of the country after holding several peace talks with the central government.
“The unity agreement is centered on five main principles: National unity, power-sharing, living together in peace, national development and uniting against all external threats,” Shire said.
Khatumo leader, Ali Khalif Galaydh, says his decision to unite with the rest of Somaliland was motivated by the lack of development in the Sool and Ayn regions.
“NGO’s never used to come to our regions due to safety concerns. We have decided that development and living in peace is more important than fighting,” Galaydh said.
Galaydh says major changes should be implemented in order to make unity sustainable.
“There need to be major changes. We are ready for peaceful dialogue and unity, but power must be shared fairly and equally,” Galaydh said.
“We will not be second-class citizens or guests in Somaliland. For those who believe that we were forced into uniting, that is false. We will not allow our people to be second-class citizens, even though so far it is looking like that not is the case” Galaydh said.
The agreement is expected to be ratified in an official ceremony next month.
Many political analysts have cited the conflict between the central government and Khatumo as one of the main obstacles hindering the international recognition of Somaliland. Many are now hopeful that national unity will strengthen the quest for international recognition.
Somalilanders across the country welcomed the historic agreement, and are hopeful that the agreement will strengthen Somaliland’s quest for international recognition.
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Somaliland and Khatumo administration:
- Both sides have agreed on building a united country based on justice, good governance, human rights in accordance with Islam and equal rights for all citizens.
- Both sides have also agreed on reforming the current constitution and implementing a new power-sharing model for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
- Both sides agreed on implementing Devolution and Decentralization in Somaliland. More powers will be granted to Somaliland’s regions, districts, and cities under the agreement.
- Both sides agreed on holding another conference in Burao on July 10th to finalize the unity agreement