[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio -- with some minor stylistic
allowances given the speaker's non-native English language delivery]
Your Excellency, Ismail Omer Gelleh, The President of the Republic of
Djibouti; Your Excellency, Dr. Abiye Ahmed, The Prime Minister of the
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Your Excellency, Mohamed Abdillahi Farmajo, President of Somalia; Your Excellency, Hassan Ali
Khayre, The Prime Minister of Somalia; Representative of the Chairperson
of the African Union (They are here); Your Excellency, Dr. Wrkneh Gebeyehu, The Executive
Secretary of IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development [for
Africa]); Your Excellency,
Donald Yamamoto, The U.S. Ambassador [to
Somalia and Somaliland]; excellenc[ies], distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; all protocols observed, good
Mr. President and Chairman as well,
First and foremost, let me say that it's
a great pleasure to be here with you today, and to participate [in] the
continuation of the
dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia. Allow me to
extend my sincere appreciation to the regional, continental, and
international community for your presence here today to discuss a topic
of great importance to the Horn of Africa.
Allow me to further thank His Excellency,
President Ismail Guelleh and the people of Djibouti for their warm and
brotherly hospitality in welcoming us in this beautiful country.
Though we may be separated by land and sea, nothing will diminish the
importance for -- the
important role you all play, and will continue to play, in your efforts
to bring peace and stability to the African continent.
The region is suffering from a combination of unprecedented challenges,
which range from the
COVID-19 to environmental and socio-economic issues.
Regional cooperation and hegemony is urgently required to steward the
vulnerable to a more prosperous and stable future.
Restarting of these mediation talks with international support is an
important factor in securing a more sustainable future in the
of [the onerous] and worthy duty of building a safe, secure, and stable
relationship for the people for Somaliland and Somalia.
Excellencies, allow me to stress the current phase that we are entering is crucial in shaping the future
-- the future bilateral relationships between our two
neighboring countries, regional stability, and a sustainable and
prosperous future for the Horn of Africa. However daunting or important
such a task is, I remain confident and optimistic that through our and
your attention, commitment, hard work, and dedication we will be able to
contribute to the peace and security landscape across the continent of Africa.
Excellences, allow me to present a brief historical background on how we
got to where we are today. Republic of Somaliland received its
independence from the United Kingdom [on 26] June 1960. Notification of
that independence was duly registered with the United Nations and 35
countries recognized Somaliland. Somaliland voluntarily united with
Somalia [on 1] July, 1960 to form the Somali Republic. The union was not
legally binding, as the Act of Union was never formally signed.
Therefore, the unification effort fell short of the requirements
mandated by domestic and international law.
From the beginning, the union malfunctioned as Somaliland people were
hugely oppressed. The people of Somaliland expressed their displeasure
with the union by overwhelming[ly] voting against the new constitution in
the referendum held in 1961 and followed full-scale struggle against
the Somali Republic. Th[is] result[ed] in the collapse of the Somali
Republic in 1991 and the restoration of the independence of -- of the Republic
of Somaliland, 18 May 1991.
Since restoring our independence, Somaliland with its scarce resources,
and with limited international support, has embarked on a steady,
incremental, and progressive agenda of conflict resolution, peace
building and state building, and established good governance and functioning
government institutions. We conducted a constitutional referendum in which
97 percent of Somalilanders voted to support the constitution and the
independence [of] Somaliland. During that period Somaliland has made
rounds of multiparty free and fair elections, including three rounds of
presidential elections, two rounds of local council elections, and
a parliamentary election. Republic of Somaliland created a conducive
environment that enabled a thriving private sector and an in-flow of
international investment. Somaliland has played an important role in the
peace and security of the region and has been [a] reliable partner in the
fight against terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, money laundering, and
other forms of organized crimes.
Unfortunately, instead of appreciating
all those efforts and contributions made by the Somaliland people for
the last 30 years, Somalia was in a constant war against the development
of Somaliland -- economically, security[-wise], investment[-wise] and this
deepened the mistrust and animosity between the two countries.
Ever since Somaliland entered hastily into a voluntary union with
Somalia, the -- the Somaliland people ha[ve] been at the receiving end of
injustice, discrimination and state sponsored genocide at -- at the hands of
the Somalia government.
Evidence of the widespread war crimes committed against the people of
Somaliland has been
fully documented1 by the United Nation[s]
Special Rapporteur for
human rights, and [a] forensic team from
Human Rights, and
Somaliland War Crimes Commission.
acts of genocide perpetrated by the
Siad Barre regime are -- are
memorialized in more than
200 mass graves in our country. The mass graves, which are
still being unearthed, will forever testify to the crimes against
humanity committed by the government of Somalia against the people of
Therefore, in approaching the present situation in Somaliland and
Somalia, it's necessary to have a proper regard to the past and learn
lessons from it. The legacy of oppression against the people of
Somaliland cannot be easily swept away. Rather, they must be acknowledged
and taken into account when considering Somaliland peopleís right to
self-determination and independence.
The case for Somaliland independence is
not [sic] unique. This fact is also
acknowledged by the AU mission to Somaliland in 2005 that concluded the
situation was sufficiently "unique and self-justified in African
political history" that "the case should not be linked to the notion of
'[opening a] Pandoraís box.'"2 It recommended that the African
Union "should find a special method
of dealing with this outstanding case" at the earliest possible date.3
Furthermore, the 2005 African Union fact mission to Somaliland
reported that the "plethora of problems confronting Somaliland [are in part] the legacy of
a political union with Somalia, [which] malfunctioned [and] brought
destruction and ruin thereby overburdening the population" of
claim to independence depends on part [upon] its circumstance, including
[its] brief, but legal, period of independence in 1960 -- it[s] claim to
recognized international borders relating to that period. As can be
surmised from Somalilandís case [it is] is unique and demands unique
solution. It does not create precedent for other unresolved conflicts in
Africa or elsewhere.
Somalilandís legal case for independence is in conformity with
international law. Somaliland satisfies the statehood criteria as set
out in [the]
Montevideo convention of 1933. Somaliland fulfils the
conditions set out in article 4(b)5 of the
Constitutive Act of the
African Union which enshrines respect of borders existing on
of independence since Somaliland borders correspond to those received
upon independence from the Great Britain.
Somaliland is fully aware that [in] the African context, the exercise of
the right to self-determination is linked to the principle of respect
for [pre-]existing boundaries [uti possidetis juris]. Somalilandís case for
independence involves resorting -- restoring borders...it possessed both as a colonial
entity [and] as an independent state.
Between 1991 and 2000, the Organization of African
[Unity] consented to the break-up of two other
unions. In 1989, Senegal opted to terminate the [seven-]year merger with
Gambia as Senigambia federation and 1993
Eretria formerly seceded from
Ethiopia. Furthermore, in supporting the comprehensive peace agreement
signed in 2005 and subsequently independence of South Sudan and its
admission to the African Union, the African Union has accepted the break-up of
The International Court of Justice in its legal opinion on Kosovo
declared in 10 to 4 vote that the declaration of independence of Kosovo
of the 17th of February 19 -- 2008...did not violate general international law
because the international law provides no prohibition on declaration of
Arbitration Commission of [the] Peace Conference [for]
Yugoslavia produced a series of opinions on the
validity of new statesí claim to independence and conditions for
recognition. The Commission determined, inter alia, the break-up of
Yugoslavia was [as case of dissolution rather than secession.
Somalilandís pursuit of independen[ce] is not a case of secession but
rather dissolution of voluntary union between [two] independent states. A
number of African Union member states are also the product of a failed union: Mali,
Senegal, Gambia and Egypt have all withdrawn from unions with their
borders intact. The African Union has also accepted the independence of territories
[that] never previously enjoyed full sovereignty.
Following the failure of the unity government, Republic of Somaliland
exercised its inherent right to self-determination which are consistent
preamble of UN 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Somaliland has long argued that Somali Republic was two united
countries. The failure of the unity government provided adequate ground
for the restoration of our independence.
We believes in that the key to sustainable and peaceful future lies in
the honest and sincere dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia under the
auspice of [a] neutral and impartial international mediation mechanism and
Somaliland remains committed to peaceful co-existence with Somalia.
However, Somaliland insists in that the dialogue should be [a] two state
process with a substantive agenda that addresses the core issues of the
dispute. Today, how can we proceed to this dialogue if the previously
signed agreements in London, Istanbul, and Djibouti were not implemented
yet? We cordially propose that a serious mediation mechanism and a
guarantor should be in place for this new round [of] dialogue.
We thank Somalia for their sincere apology
[for] the horrors of
yesteryear committed in Somaliland. The current generation of Somalia
was of course not responsible for what the previous generations did but
its acknowledgement of the wrongdoings of [the] previous generation is
significant and heartfelt appreciated by...all Somalilanders.
acknowledgment also comes responsibility -- responsibility for the damage
that horror caused. Words are not enough. Again, words are not enough. The horror of the past
requires more than words -- it requires actions. The act of recognizing
and supporting the independence of Somaliland would go a long way to
heal the wounds of the past and enable our [two] states to embrace each
other in our independent but closely interwoven futures.
I am confident that we can build a bright future together as
brotherly, neighboring nations and for our own people and our region.
Thank you very much.