ABU DHABI, 16 April 2004 (Awdalnews Network) —A Somaliland political leader
said that Somaliland’s recognition would usher in a period of peace and
stability to all Horn of African countries.
Speaking at a luncheon hosted in his honor by his supporters on Thursday and
attended by other members of Somaliland community here, Faisal Ali Waraabe,
Chairman of the Justice and Welfare Party, known by its Somali acronym UCID,
said “Somaliland’s independence will play a pivotal role in the peace and
stability of the Horn of African countries as it will eliminate the
traditional Somali irredentism of claiming territories in Ethiopia and
“There will be no more ILA JIID WAA HAWDE,” he said, referring to patriotic
Somali lyrics that mobilized people in the heydays of the Somali
Faisal, who arrived in Abu Dhabi from the UK, will embark on a three-week
tour of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Ruwanda in a bid to gain
friends for Somaliland from African countries.
In an apparent departure from the conventional political rhetoric, Faisal
said that his party believed that Somaliland should not shy away from
mediating the Somali factions in the South and helping them to establish a
good government for them and a good neighbor for Somaliland.
“We should not hide from their problem (Somalia), we should adopt a
proactive and pre-emptive approach to Somali case. Their issue concerns us
more than Djibouti, more than Kenya and more than Ethiopia,” he said.
He, however, added that Somaliland could play such role only after it puts
its house in order.
“We should first settle our problems on the Eastern regions and elect our
national parliament,” said Faisal, referring to Somaliland’s dispute with
Puntland on Sool and Sanaag regions and to the upcoming elections of
Somaliland’s parliamentary elections.
He hailed Somaliland’s rapprochement with Djibouti, saying that if
Somaliland could not win Djibouti and its President Geelle to its side, it
would not be able to win Kenya or anyone else.
Describing Somaliland President’s recent visit to UK and Belgium as
successful, Faisal said that the UK government agreed to support our case in
the Common Wealth countries.
He added that the British government pledged to give assistance to
Somaliland directly and not through the NGOs as the case was until now.
“There are, however, certain conditions that Somaliland has to fulfill to
deserve such assistance such as showing good governance, transparency and
respect for human rights,” he said.
He added that he learnt from Somaliland government sources that both the UK
and Belgian governments had allowed for Somaliland to open representative
offices in their countries.
Responding to a question by Awdalnews Network on the possible link between
Islamic extremist groups and the recent killings of foreigners in
Somaliland, Faisal said that there were some Islamic elements who consider
the whole existence of Somaliland as a sort of blasphemy and anti-Islamic.
“I cannot say whether there is a link between the recent killings and
international terrorism, but I can say that there are some cells of
extremist groups in the country,” he added, noting that it was wise to wait
for the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
On the meeting of certain Tableeq Islamic groups in Somaliland late last
year, Faisal said that it was true that the Tableeq groups held an
international conference in Hargeisa but asserted that the Tableeq were not
involved in any violent activities.
“The Tableeq are pious people who are more concerned with praying and
preaching than any worldly interests,” he said.
Answering a question on his party’s vision of nurturing the burgeoning
democracy in Somaliland, Faisal said that his party’s political position was
to engage the government and had a continued dialogue with it.
“We don’t want to push the government into a corner and put it on the
defensive. The opposition has to learn to support the government when it is
doing the right thing and criticize it for its shortcomings,” he added.
He criticized the government for neglecting the Eastern regions before the
incursion of Puntland forces into the area.
“We have to thank Abdillahi Yusuf for waking us from our long slumber,” he
said, pointing out that his party’s policy was that Somaliland’s forces
should secure the country’s borders without resorting to war.
He said that his party’s objectives was to build a society built on justice,
a decentralized and welfare state and to retire old politicians and bring
new blood into Somaliland’s politics.
“We stand for change,” he concluded.