|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
|Interaction Of Peace, Security And Development Within The Framework Of Somaliland's International - Recognition - A Practical Experience|
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a distinct honor and a particular privilege for me to address this conference. At the outset, allow me, my brothers and sisters, to welcome you to my beloved country, Somaliland.
Over the past few years, I have been primarily involved in advocating for Somaliland's recognition, globally, with special reference to the African Nations, by creating awareness for our cause. Easy said than done, as most people are still trying to distinguish between Somalia and Somaliland!
In discussing the Somaliland issue, I have met with many political leaders, including presidents, prime Ministers, foreign ministers and even their Royal Highnesses of Lesotho and Swaziland. They all praise our resilience, our ability in finding peace, our stand against injustice, our tenacity and achievements, against all odds. The most comforting words came from Madiba – Rt. Hon. Nelson Mandela, who said, "I know all about your country, your struggle. It is wonderful that you have peace in your land". That Ladies and Gentlemen is indeed the starting point. Without peace and stability we have nothing and these we must guard at any cost and at all times. No development can be planned without peace and security.
The list of countries I have had dialogues with is long, including but not limited to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Gabon, Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Malaysia and Taiwan. Over and above creating the awareness and providing justifications for our cause, I tried to explain that after 30 years of injustice, inequality, and sheer discrimination, we ended a very bad marriage. The abused party eventually walked out of the ill-fated union - that is not secession, but survival in saving our body and soul. Sympathies abound, but no one comes forward to give us the real support. Not yet anyway - but we must never give up. In the words of Mozambique's late President Samora Machel "A Luta Continua" - the struggle continues.
African Union has been supportive and my good friends at the AU, continue to guide us. We expect that an AU delegation would visit Somaliland soon. Foreign ministers of some of the friendly nations have been instrumental in raising the Somaliland issue in the last AU summit. Our other friends continue to help in many ways at the AU.
Peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, as in most African countries, are often at risk due to the problem of the displaced people. The statistics are staggering. In our region, Somalia has 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers and 350,000 internally displaced people, Kenya with 230,000 internally displaced people, Eritrea with 290,000 refugees, Ethiopia 26,000 refugees and asylum seekers and the saga continues. Dare we venture into Sudan!! On the positive side, let us not forget that some 500,000 previously displaced people returned to Somaliland – surely we are doing something right!
In June this year, I held informal discussions on Somaliland with my old friends at the U.S. State Department's African Bureau. I was pleasantly surprised to note their awareness of our cause. No doubt our very capable Representative in the United States has been doing an excellent job. I was there with a number of prominent American business leaders and it was interesting to see that they all supported the idea of working through South Africa and the African Union, as the Somaliland issue is after all an African problem. We should work both towards finding political solutions as well as economic development.
I believe that we owe a great deal to many in this country for our peace and continued stability. Briefly, I would like to acknowledge a few of them:
To each and every one of our SNM members, leaders and fallen heroes. Here, I would like to pay special homage to my late uncle Yusuf Ali Sheikh Madar.
To our clan elders, civic, religious and the traditional leaders. With heavy heart, I pay here my deepest respect to my late uncle Sheikh Ebrahim Sheikh Madar, who passed away just a few days ago.
To our various clans, who put aside their differences, in working together towards creating a harmonious society.
To our late President Mohamed Haji Ebrahim Egal for his vision, leadership and creating the foundation of today's Somaliland.
To all our political parties who continue to abide by the law of the land and working together in rebuilding our ravaged nation.
To many NGOs and various UN agencies whose unselfish help is very
important to our survival and progress. In the name of Somaliland I thank
you from the bottom of my heart.
Other resources and development projects are already underway with countries
such as the UK and South Africa. Much more is needed to foster our economic
growth even at the very base level. I urge the international community and
especially, the European Union to help us in this respect, by investing in
Somaliland in manufacturing, industry, developing our untapped resources and
rebuilding infrastructure. This will create jobs, and our human resources
will be gainfully deployed. In turn, we shall have schools, hospitals,
sanitation, potable water – a few fundamental elements of survival. Why
deprive us of these basic rights when we have suffered so much for so long?
Collectively, it will take so little of your vast resources!