Washington, DC, October 3, 2005 PRESS RELEASE (United States Department of State) – The United States welcomed the recent parliamentary elections in the Somaliland region of Somalia as an example of democracy for greater Somalia, according to an October 3 State Department statement.
Somaliland is a former British colony in the Horn of Africa that merged in 1960 with the Italian colony of Somalia to form the independent republic of Somalia. But when Somalia descended into anarchy in the early 1990s, Somaliland broke away and set up its own administration.
While clan-based fighting swept the center and south of Somalia following the 1991 ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre, Somaliland remained relatively peaceful, aided by the strong dominance of a ruling clan and an economic infrastructure left behind by British, Russian and American military aid programs.
Although the region has its own security and police forces, justice system, and currency, it has not succeeded in gaining international recognition. The elections on September 29 were the first multiparty parliamentary elections since the region separated from Somalia. Many of the candidates were citizens of the United States, Britain, Canada, and some European countries.
Following is the text of the State Department statement:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
October 3, 2005
STATEMENT BY SEAN McCORMACK, SPOKESMAN
Regional Parliamentary Elections in Somalia
The United States welcomes the September 29 parliamentary elections in Somaliland, which represent a step towards democracy in Somalia. We congratulate the people of Somaliland on holding peaceful elections with significant voter turnout. The United States calls on all political parties to work together peacefully during the post-election period to strengthen the democratic transition in Somaliland and serve as an example for greater Somalia.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)
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