20 June 2012

Somalia: Somaliland Keen On Independence At London Conference

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
A soldier from the Somalia's transitional government pushes back a crowd (file photo): The Somaliland-Somalia meeting was an issue agreed on at the London conference earlier this year.

London — Officials from Somaliland and the southern Somali government met in London to discuss the future of Somalia and Somaliland, Garowe Online reports.

Officials from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the breakaway region of Somaliland began talks in an undisclosed location in London. The Somaliland Somalia meeting was an issue agreed on at the London conference earlier this year.

According to the final communiqué from the London conference held in February, this conference was organized to open up talks between the two governments to clarify their future relations.

For twenty odd years, Somaliland's stance has been to gain independence from Somalia. Despite talks between the two governments Somaliland officials maintain that they are seeking independence.

Speaking to the Somaliland media in Hargeisa Foreign Minister Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar assured that Somaliland would not renounce its bid for independence.

"We should maintain our dignity as an independent nation, deserving of international respect. Our sovereignty is non-negotiable," Dr Omar said.

The issue of independence will likely cause an interesting debate over whether or not the TFG is willing to recognize Somaliland as sovereign nation.

The TFG have kept an open mind approach to the conference but political analysts say the lack of a solid position on Somaliland's independence, could result in a failed conference.

Somaliland pulled out of the talks last month when TFG President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed appointed two ministers from Puntland state to attend the conference. After protest from the Somaliland government the Puntland ministers did not attend the conference in London.

Somaliland and Puntland have hotly contested regions in northern Somalia which both lay claim to.

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