HARGEISA – Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire reaffirmed Somaliland’s desire to restart talks with Somalia, after he was asked on October 10th about a recent statement issued by two EU ambassadors.
Earlier this month, Denmark’s ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland, Mette Knudsen, and Holland’s ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland, Frans Makken, called on both countries to urgently restart the talks.
Knudsen said that ‘the international community is ready to bring the two parties together for another round of talks’, and that it is imperative to put an end to the conflict between Somalia and Somaliland.
Makken also stated that his country, Holland, is ready to fully support the peace process between the two countries.
During an interview with Geeska Afrika, Shire said that the talks between the two countries can only begin if Somalia takes the peace process more seriously.
“Somaliland never abandoned peace talks with Somalia. President Bihi stated on previous occasions that Somaliland is ready to relaunch dialogue with Somalia,” Shire said
“However, Somalia hasn’t shown the same commitment and isn’t serious about decreasing tension – so that we can begin the talks,” Shire said.
“Farmaajo says that he is ready to talk with Somaliland – but he isn’t willing to accept the truth,”
“Our stance is that Somaliland and Somalia are two independent countries. We were two separate countries when we decided to unite (in 1960) – and then we (Somaliland) dissolved the union,”
“No matter what happens during the talks, we will never abandon the will of the Somaliland people – which is, to remain independent. 97% of Somalilanders voted against reuniting with Somalia (in 2001),” Shire said.
It is not known whether Denmark and Holland will support the talks from the sidelines, or whether they will become official mediators, and rally support from other EU countries for the peace process.
This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.