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KULMIYE Opposition Partyís Memo To Visiting UK MPs
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The following is the full text of the KULMIYE Opposition party statement, made on the occasion of UK Parliamentarian delegationís visit to Somaliland earlier this week:

ďTo: The Parliamentary Delegation FromThe United Kingdom To Somaliland
Hargeisa, Somaliland

Subject: Statement Of Kulmiye (The Party Of Unity)

It is our greatest pleasure to welcome you to Somaliland and to let you know how much we appreciate your visit. Your delegation represents the largest group to visit Somaliland from the United Kingdom in recent memory and we hope we will together rekindle our long historical relationship. Your visit is short, but we still hope that it will give you a flavor of Somalilandís multidimensional society.

Kulmiye is one of Somalilandís three national political parties. In the most recent elections our party received 42.7% of the votes cast, just 0.1% less than the winning party. It is a measure of Somalilandís maturity that, in spite of this narrowest of margins, no disturbances took place and peace was maintained.

Somaliland is proud of its recent history. For more than 12 years, we have survived and prospered in the face of international ostracism and marginalization. We have built peace out of chaos. We have improved on that peace by laying the foundation for a solid, democratic governance that can be matched by few countries in the third world. Our private sector is creating prosperity that is quickly erasing the effects of 40 years of corruption and neglect by successive southern Somalia governments and a brutal and genocidal civil war.

Nonetheless, the entire international community has ignored our achievements. The recognition we deserve from your country and other countries has not been accorded to us. As a result, we are unable to move forward beyond where we are. We cannot access international financial institutions, participate adequately in international trade and investment, and cannot develop even our own resources.

Sadly, this hostility towards us is based not on any justifiable or overriding international necessity, but on a misreading of our history and on the wishes and designs of warlords in southern (former Italian) Somalia. We are in effect being held hostage to the designs of these warlords who have wrecked havoc on their own people and who have been unable to consummate a single agreement even after the good will and generous assistance of the entire international community. These warlords have found that disturbing Somalilandís peace and stability serves their needs and have now started to ferment conflict within Somalilandís own boundary. The silence of the international community and their lukewarm calls for a ceasefire are, in our view, tantamount to rewarding the aggressor and punishing the peacemaker.

We hope your august delegation will push the United Kingdom to remember the 86 years of relationship with Somaliland. We feel that the United Kingdom has abandoned us completely. In contrast, other European powers have been kinder to their old friends in this region. France has maintained a good and strong relationship with Djibouti and, in spite of the chaos that rages in southern Somalia, Italy is still very much engaged in what goes on there almost always at our expense and peril.

The international community has given Somaliland only a meager support and often grudgingly and in ways that do not respond to our priorities. Our achievements have been entirely our own. We are proud of this, but we sincerely hope that you will impress upon your government that the people of Somaliland deserve the much touted peace dividend. In particular, we urge you and the rest of the international community to:

Give a reasonable and judicious review to Somalilandís case for recognition and full sovereignty. We are confident that Somalilandís case is legally and politically sound. We hope our old friend, the United Kingdom, will take the lead in this effort.

Help strengthen Somalilandís nascent democracy and the fundamental institutions that are necessary for the democratic process. Kulmiye believes that the quickest route to proper and balanced development for the people of Somaliland is through true democracy. As you may all know, Somaliland has completed elections for local councils and the Presidency, but that the pillar of democracy, the national legislature, has yet to be formed as predicated by our own constitution through an election process. On 4/7/2003, the three national political parties agreed to elections for the national legislature no later than the summer of 2004. We still hope that this election will take place as agreed, but we are worried that our government will drag this process longer than necessary and in effect short-circuit the democratic process.

Somaliland has been part of the British Empire for nearly a century. We belong to the Commonwealth nations that have shared this history and we ask that Somaliland be given observer status in the Commonwealth until such that time that we are able to become a full-fledged member.

We hope that this delegation will impress upon the United Kingdom to consider giving Somaliland much more assistance and that this assistance fits our own identified priorities. We humbly site the following as examples of appropriate assistance:

Helping our democratic institutions: the legislature, the judiciary and free media by urging the involvement of United Kingdom organizations and organs that can help us develop good and sound governance. We believe that effective political parties are essential to the democracy, but our parties are newborn and resource poor and need much assistance in the short term.

Re-establish scholarship and exchange programs.

Increase assistance to our social sector, health, education and human welfare.

Help Somaliland in overcoming the obstacles posed by the lack of recognition. It may impossible, with the assistance of the United Kingdom, to develop innovative solutions to overcome some of these obstacles and help us emerge out of the shadow of obscurity.

Our party is committed to the creation of an independent and prosperous Somaliland that is able to take care of all of its citizens. We will continue to work hard to attain these goals. We also reaffirm that Somaliland is no longer part of Somalia. The union that we entered into voluntarily in 1960 with Italian Somalia has not served us well. That union concerns us no longer. We are, therefore, not involved and will not participate in the ďreconciliationĒ meeting currently taking place in Kenya. In deed, there is no reason for us to abandon our hard earned peace, stability and economic progress for an illusive reconciliation effort that after 15 efforts has not yet produced a single meaningful result.

We sincerely hope that your visit is not the last that you and your colleagues make to Somaliland.

Thank you and we wish you a safe and pleasant journey home!Ē

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