A respond to Michael Keating: A Parameter that Guides the Foreign Policy Doctrine of Somaliland
I would like to put the record straight on the report titled; ‘’Statement of the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General to Somalia to UN Security Council’’ (Keating, 2018). The statement never explains the achievement and the marvel of socioeconomic and political development of Somaliland. On the contrary, to some degree, the report emasculates to a single paragraph, i.e. the peaceful transition of power transfer between the former and incumbent democratically elected Presidents together with the free and fair elections in Somaliland – as stated by the international observers and the global mainstream media outlets.
Mr. Keating intentionally overlooked in his statement the complete success of Somaliland, but praised the malfunctioning administration of Mogadishu. I argued earlier that the International Community, including the African Union and the Arab League, supported the inferno state from the beginning. However, their exertions became squandered by the people of Somalia and their interest oriented lumpen-elites.
My response to the Special Representative of UN Secretary to Somalia is a parameter that guides the foreign policy doctrine – to what he does not know, or perhaps he does not want to remark – as there is no role for his mission in Somaliland – driven by a project-oriented mindset. I avowed several times in different articles; Somaliland won the war against the vicious regime of Siyad Barre, above and beyond the country gained hard-earned peace through state formation and institutional building. Somaliland in due course bourgeoned and flourished to build its democratic pillars, the national currency, public institutions, and armed forces, and all this transpired without recognition.
Again, with a complete lack of technical and financial support from the international community, Somaliland won both the wars of piracy and terrorism in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. The miracle of that success has never been mentioned by Keating and his predecessors; I am not expecting any virtuous annotations from his successors either. Thus, in this article, I would like to educate Mr Keating, philosophically, what my country Somaliland stands for, and I will begin with the sacrosanct explanation of national interest. This includes the ups and downs of its governmentality for nearly three decades in which he omitted in his report to the Security Council.
Dear Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The people and the government of Somaliland are unswerving and politically dyed-in-the-wool to pursuit the sovereignty of their nation-state, continue to attain dependable democracy, endorse the unceasing struggle for economic development and to safeguard national peace based on coast-to-coast justice, social equality, civic belonging and distributional concept among all citizens of Somaliland. There can be no doubt that the realisation of rapid economic development, strengthening peace and exercising democracy are fundamental to the survival of our country, which finds itself in a state of abject poverty and backwardness.
That is why we, the people of Somaliland and their governments are always keen to prioritise matters that are vital to our survival and well-being. Moreover, we are ready to brawl against poverty and promote rapid economic development, democracy and peace. If we do not comprehend our national goals, one can predict that our country will be exposed to a high instability, and even state downfall, thenceforth our real security, and truly survival, will be at stake.
Unless the overall national policy route takes this basic reality into account, our security and national existence will face plain menace. In this respect, it is apparent to see that our foreign relations can firstly have relevance if it contributes to secure international recognition, protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity. Regarding the national interest and self-determination of our people, which is the primary goal of Somaliland’s foreign policy as constitutes article one of the constitution of the Republic of Somaliland.
On the other hand, Somaliland government is now able to exercise control over much of its territory from the will of her people. Our government started an appeasement policy, which later introduced a constructive negotiation on the grounds of political accommodation with Khatumo and parts of the Eastern districts of Sanaag region. The purpose of the dialogue is to encourage people of different local interests on the grounds of political representation on power-sharing strategy.
The approach is to build national consensus, processes of discussion, and engendering definite ideas for unambiguous governance engagements. This policy can lead to our country a path of a compatible interest, in order to reach agreements on all necessary political parameters for continued dialogue, in other words, Somaliland will encourage on how people are willing to be administered. In short, government’s political accommodation strategy is based on everyone having a fair chance at expressing their interests and reaching a fair outcome.
Terrorism and the idea of radicalisation destabilised many countries and damaged the peace of our world. The governments of Somaliland always build definitive foreign policy, which contributes to the fight against terror, piracy and regional instability. In our diplomatic relations, we will take into thoughtful consideration the attitude adopted against terrorism by countries, and we will determine our international engagement, regional ties based on commercial and economic collaborations in accordance therewith.
Likewise, in the fight against terrorism, we will use to the full extent of the rights conferred on the international treaties and conventions. Notably, those in the neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti as well as the United Nations’ counter-terrorism conventions, and we will accentuate at the international level the legal obligations of other countries in this framework.
On the other hand, the vision driving Somaliland’s Foreign Relations is the pursuit of ‘’A peaceful, regionally prosperous and globally competitive Somaliland. And the ultimate national project is to uphold and safeguard Somaliland’s interests by exhibiting an attractive image globally through innovative diplomacy, and contribute towards a just, peaceful and equitable world”.
Through the aims of foreign relations, our incumbent President pursues to encourage and protect national security and defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity, together with regional and international harmony. As a country, we will regenerate to upkeep the work of regional, international and multilateral organisations in order to discover better solutions to conflict and terrorist activities for the sake of freeing and securing our world.
In pursuing this objective, our government has developed candid international relations to wisely escort Somaliland’s foreign affairs and diplomatic engagements with our partners. The Policy is inclined towards upholding the country’s sovereignty, promoting universal peace and fostering better relations with our neighbours, the rest of the African continent and the world at large.
Preface and Acknowledgement.
Since 1991, Somaliland has a proud tradition of engagement with the international community, particularly the neighbouring countries. The parliamentary and the executive committee of foreign affairs have always involved debates on numerous issues, from human rights to security cooperation and economic diplomacy. This is to shape Somaliland’s approach towards positive international relations. The ruling parties of UDUB and Kulmiye, including the opposition parties of Waddani and UCID, are profoundly believing to improve and sustain the political, economic and cultural ties based on democracy, freedom and self-liberty between Somaliland and the rest of the world. We feel obligated for shaping our foreign policy on the basis of values, aiming at creating a fair world for all people. Somaliland will come to the fore as a respectable and reliable member of the international community that appreciates its responsibilities, that cooperates in all ranges to reach mutual goals, and that sets an instance with its diplomatic courtesy.
Our governments, the incumbent and the bygone were/are ready to make Somaliland the heart of regional peace, development and democracy. Again, the fundamental basis of Somaliland is peace, democracy, freedom, the rule of law and self-liberty, and we preaching you Mr Keating and the governments and the people of Africa that Somaliland will stand for those values and principles. Due to the dynamic nature of the international system and the foreign relations of the different countries of the world, we are welcoming a positive newfangled collaboration between Somaliland and the international community to be further developed, bringing our higher priority of securing international recognition for Somaliland at the heart of our foreign policy.
According to the policy, the political and economic relations that Somaliland has with a given country or group of countries is based on the protection of its national interests and security, and as such, is linked to its democratisation and development goals. The country’s relations with other countries in the Horn of Africa, therefore, should be seen from the vantage-point of how engagement could assist it to stimulate its national agenda of democracy and development.
Somaliland has guided the reality of self-determination of its people as an independent sovereign state. The people of Somaliland overwhelmingly decided to end the voluntary union with Somalia in 1991, which began in 1960 soon after Somaliland gained its independence from Great Britain. Once again, the decision was endorsed enormously in a referendum by the people of Somaliland in 2001.
The twenty-five years of declaration of independence from the Somali Republic, the people of Somaliland and their leadership have assembled a viable social contract between the people of the nation-state. This has led a functioning political entity that has, in the view of a great many Somalilanders, independent organisations and intellectuals, acquired most of the defining characteristics of a state. It has a well democratic, functional system of government with multiple elections and peaceful power of transfer in which the world observed and acknowledged as free and fair elections.
According to the country’s profile from the CIA Factbook, Somaliland’s claim for independence is based primarily on historical title – it’s a separate colonial history, a brief period of independence in 1960, the fact that it voluntarily entered into its unhappy union with Somalia and the questionable legitimacy of the 1960 Act of Union. The country also has a defined territory, Somaliland’s independence restores the colonial borders of the former British Protectorate of Somaliland and therefore does not violate the principle of uti possidetis – that old colonial borders should be maintained upon independence – which is enshrined in the Consultative Act of the African Union. The international boundaries of the Protectorate were delineated by treaties with France (Djibouti) to the west in 1888, Ethiopia to the south in 1887 and Italy (Somalia) to the east in 1894.
In addition to that, the Republic of Somaliland has a permanent population of four million, and has now the capacity to form relations with other states of the world as well as the multinational corporations for foreign direct investment purposes. The Global ports operator of DP World has signed an agreement to develop a new commercial port at Berbera. Previously other Oil explorations and production companies including Norwegian DNO and Anglo-Turkish Genel Energy were awarded an exploration license for onshore blocks.
Somaliland’s Position on National Objectives.
The government and the people of Somaliland are cognizant of the fact that Somaliland’s lack of recognition is unfair and depriving the country of significant development opportunities. Somaliland’s position on national objectives is based on a legal claim to its statehood, which hinges on the country’s discrete status during the colonial period from the remainder of what turned out to be the Italian Somalia. Moreover, its being as an independent state for a transitory period following the sovereignty gained from Great Britain on 26th June 1960. After willingly and voluntarily united with Somalia in pursuit of the irredentist dream of the Greater Somali Republic (including parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti), it now seeks recognition within the borders received at that moment of independence. Thus, the fact of the domino effect is unthinkable, since Somaliland has a distinctive history than Eritrea and South Sudan, and the very same history gives our country every right to go it alone again. Hence, the domino effect cannot be applied to Somaliland’s sovereignty and self-determination of its people. In addition, Somaliland has everything a country would require: An elected government, an army, its own currency and a flag.
In that case, Somaliland is determined not to renounce the will of its people, and will rather fight to legally, politically and economically gain its right of recognition from the international community. According to article 4 of the AU Charter, it reassures ‘’the preservation of inherited colonial boundaries,”. Therefore, people of Somaliland and their government seek to pursue the following national objectives: –
- Somaliland is stalwart to protect its self-determined independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The government is dedicated to promote regional sub-regional and economic integration as well as security cooperation.
- Enhance and augment regional and global peace and security.
- Develop the economic well-being and prosperity of its people.
- Traditional political accommodation together with democracy, peace and the rule of law (hybrid political system) are believed to have been what protected Somaliland’s image and prestige. Therefore, Somaliland is committed to preserve and nurture the above foundations.
- Uphold international cooperation on trade and security on the grounds of multilateralism.
Somaliland Foreign Policy Guiding Principles.
Somaliland’s position on national objectives will be pursued through five main inter-linked guiding principles: –
- Inviolability and sanctity of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland.
- Diplomatic nonviolent, peaceful and beneficial co-existence with neighbouring countries and other nations of the world.
- Prompt strategy of problem solving and resolution of conflicts by peaceful means.
- Upgrade and advancement of local and regional economic integration with the exchange of trading goods and services.
- Respect for the sovereignty, equality, and territorial integrity of neighbouring states. and Respect for international norms, customs and laws as enshrined by the international law.
Implementation and Institution Framework.
Even though, Somaliland achieved remarkable progress in all spheres – political, economic and social. Nonetheless, according to the feasibility study of the Ministry of Planning and Development, our government experienced that our country has grueling and onerous challenges ahead, as a nation. We have a fast-growing younger population, more than half of our labour force is idle; most of our people are illiterate; we have a rapidly degrading environment; we grow little of the food we consume; and we have still an unacceptably high child and maternal mortality rates.
But at the same time as stated in its National Development Plan. Again, the government recognised the potential of its nation, and we will use natural resources to upsurge and/or expand our national economy: we have vast untapped mineral wealth, we have substantial marine resources, we have the land to quadruple our food production, and we have exceptionally enterprising people. In view of these challenges and opportunities, it is vital that we develop a vision that embodies our aspirations and guides us in realising our potential.
Somaliland, therefore acknowledges the significance of regional cooperation, bilateral and multilateral relations, as primary mechanisms of its foreign relations and entry points for triumphing its national interests. Thus, in the modern-day of the globalized world, interconnectedness and interdependency of the international system of political economy and security of the nation states of the world, our new strategy of foreign relations will be based on a roadmap, which reflects national priorities of long-term development aspirations and goals.
It is irrefutable that Somaliland does indeed qualify and deserve to be recognised as an independent sovereign state by the international community. Any efforts to repudiate or silence the case of Somaliland would not only put the international community at risk of discounting the most stable region in the Horn of Africa, as most scholars argue it would ‘’impose untold hardship upon the people of Somaliland due to the denial of foreign assistance that recognition entails.” Furthermore, it is also the significance of the world peace to resolve cases like Somaliland and Somalia. According to the international law “The interest of world peace and stability require that, where possible, the division or fragmentation of existing states should be managed peacefully and by negotiation. But, where this is not possible, as the case with Somalia, international law accepts that the interests of justice may prevail over the principle of territorial integrity.”
Therefore, Somaliland will reformulate the case of recognition and will employ a new political approach to reassure once again its sovereignty prior the unity of the Somali Republic in 1960. On the other hand, the government will engage a liberal foreign policy, which is determined by a vision of ‘A stable, prosperous and internationally competitive Somaliland’. Whereas the Mission is “To project, uphold and safeguard Somaliland’s interests and political image worldwide through modern, innovative diplomacy and provide towards a just, nonviolent and equitable world.” The policy is driven by national aspiration and values of the Somaliland people as enshrined in the Constitution of Somaliland.
Thus, people of Somaliland is dedicated the enhance democracy and the rule of law, and to empower a bridge of relations in order to call for the international community to work with Somaliland by giving greater courtesy to the formal promotion of liberal democracy in Somaliland, and certify that Somaliland did not relapse into non-democratic practices.
Consolidate and Further Strengthen Somaliland National Security.
In a primary sense, national security is a matter of certifying our national existence. The alpha and omega of security are to safeguard Somaliland’s national being and survival as every other nation in the world. All and every other related national security concerns may be resolved only if country’s national existence is ensured. First and foremost, the government is ready to formulate country’s security policy along with foreign affairs strategy to ensure national security.
Matters of economic development, sustainable peace, national stability, social well-being and prosperity, and any other related concerns then follow. To consolidate and further strengthen Somaliland national security, it is imperative to address, identify and scrutinise the sources and foundations from which the policy springs.
Through the national security objectives, the country is ready to pursue to uphold and protect national, regional and international peace and security as well as protecting our national independence and territorial integrity. Somaliland is committed to continue to support the work of regional solutions against violence, intimidation and acts of terrorism behaviour. In pursuing the country’s political and socio-economic interests, the government will promote political and economic integration with sub-regional and regional countries in order to emphasise Horn and East African Trade as the keystone for Africa’s socio-economic and political unity.
Through economic diplomacy, Somaliland will introduce a new strategy to strengthen and consolidate country’s trade and investment links with traditional partners and beyond. While attracting investment connections and exploring new trade and investment partners in order to expand access of foreign investment to Somaliland, while at the same time mounting savings for our country. Through this policy, we seek to develop and expand our regional and international engagement by benefiting our skilled people in the diaspora in order to influence and utilise their skills expatriate for national development. In conclusion, dear Special Representative of UN Secretary-General to Somalia to UN Security Council, please include your report this bit, therefore your statement to the Security won’t be bias anymore. Thanks in Advance.
Mohamed Hagi Mohamoud