Britain urges Somaliland to back Somalia conference in London

HARGEISA — UK Deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia Chris Allan visited the Somaliland capital on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming London Conference on Somalia. The British ambassador held a press conference in Mansoor hotel in which he briefly presented the agenda of the conference and Somaliland’s role.

“I would like to stress that I am pleased with my visit to Somaliland. Today I met with senior government officials and we deliberated on matters relating to the international conference on the issue of Somalia scheduled to be held in London. I presented them with the agenda of the meeting,” he said.

Mr. Allan also stressed talks will focus on core regional problems such as maritime piracy and terrorism that need regional cooperation.

“The scheduled meeting will address the issues of development and Britain’s humanitarian aid for Somaliland and Somalia as well as socio-economic and political development,” he stated. Mr. Allan added that Britain was Somaliland’s largest supporter and its biggest donor and reaffirmed the strong and long-standing friendship and historical ties between the two. With more than 40 senior government officials and multilateral organizations expected to attend, the British Ambassador said the meeting presented a golden opportunity and venue for Somaliland to present its case to the international community.

He further added, he was notifying the Somaliland authority and its people about the upcoming forum on behave of the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague. He said both officials were keen on President Ahmed Silanyo to lead the Somaliland delegation to London. “The Prime Minister will soon send an official letter of invitation to President Silanyo while the Foreign Secretary is expected to have a telephone conversation with President Silanyo to discuss the matter further,” he told local media.

Insisting the conference could strengthen Somaliland’s quest for international recognition Mr. Allan said: “I believe the best way Somaliland could further its goal is for President Silanyo to attend the meeting and make a case for his nation.”
Finally Mr. Allan revealed that the meeting will bring together over senior 40 government representatives and multilateral organizations including the president of France Nicolas Sarkozy, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, major international donors and foreign ministers.

Somaliland is a former British protectorate that gained its independence in June 1960 but voluntarily unified with its southern neighbor few days later to form what was known as the Somali Republic. After years of armed struggle with Somalia that left more than 50, 000 killed, it reinstated its independence in 1991 but has since failed to gain international recognition. Somaliland has in the past expressed skepticism and in most parts rejected participating in any conference on “Somalia”. However, the country is expected to endorse this British-sponsored meeting since Hargeisa trusts London and the British government is aware of Somaliland’s case. The timetable of the conference is not yet clear but the British Prime Minister said he will host the meeting in London in next month.

 

Source: Somalilandpress

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