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|"Door Is Closed" On Somalia-Somaliland Talks|
Oslo, Norway, October 11, 2004 (afrol News) – Somaliland opposition leader Faisal Ali Waraabe predicts a new cycle of war and instability in Somalia and Somaliland after the election of warlord Abdullahi Yusuf as Somalia's new President. Mr. Yusuf's militias are occupying parts of Somaliland and Mr. Waraabe rules out talks between Somaliland and President Yusuf of Somalia.
Mr. Waraabe, leader of Somaliland's opposition Justice and Welfare Party (JWP), told afrol News today that yesterday's election of Mr. Yusuf spelled yet "another tragedy for Somalia." President-elect Yusuf was unfit to head Somalia out of its 13-year-old crisis and instability, said the Somalilander opposition leader.
Mr. Yusuf is currently the President of autonomous Puntland in north-eastern Somalia, bordering the self-declared republic of Somaliland. From the Puntland capital, Bossaso, Mr. Yusuf has led an occupation of the Somalilander town Las Aanod and tried to conquer a part of the Sanag province in eastern Somaliland. Yesterday, a majority of Somalia's MPs gathered in Nairobi elected Mr. Yusuf for a five-year-term as the country's new interim President.
“Mr. Yusuf represents a minority group in Bossaso,” Mr. Waraabe says, "and he has a very bad reputation both in Somalia and in Somaliland." According to the Somalilander opposition leader, President Yusuf "is a clan-minded man, as illustrated by his attempt to create a so-called Hartiland." Hartiland refers to the Harti sub-clan of the Darod clan, to which Mr. Yusuf belongs, and his attempts to unify the Harti in Puntland and in Somaliland's Sool and Sanag provinces.
Mr. Waraabe predicts new confrontations in Somalia and at Somaliland's border. "How can he be the President of Somalia when all he talks about is clans," the JWP leader asks, saying there will now be a "new cycle of war" in Somalia. Also Somalia's southern clan leaders are expected to oppose President Yusuf's expected attempts to create a unified Somalia.
“We will never talk with him”, Mr. Waraabe told afrol News, regarding the possibility of negotiating a peace between Somalia and Somaliland. "His election means the end of all talks. The door is closed," he added, saying this means that the 14th attempt of all-Somali reconciliation already has failed.
Somaliland is a former British colony that gained independence in 1960 and united with former Italian Somalia few days after independence. After the bloody Siyad Barre regime was ousted in 1991, Somaliland unilaterally dissolved the 1960 union and has since created a full-fledged state where peace, stability and rule of law is established. No country has however recognized Somaliland and authorities in Hargeisa now fear that Mr. Yusuf's new government officially will represent also Somaliland's territory in the UN.
Mr. Waraabe and the JWP's third leader Amina Warsame are currently on a roundtrip in Scandinavia to present a joint letter by Somaliland's parties, declaring the position of Somaliland on the Somali conference in Nairobi. In Denmark and Norway, the Somalilander delegation has sought support for its pledge not letting Somalia's upcoming government represent Somaliland in the UN.
While Mr. Waraabe did not get any guarantees in Danish and Norwegian government offices, his delegation was promised that the Scandinavian countries would do nothing to jeopardize Somaliland's peace and democratization process. "If the South [Somalia] disturbs the processes in Somaliland, they will stop the aid flow," Mr. Waraabe had been told.
Norway and Denmark also supported the EU' position, which according to the JWP leader is "that the new [Somali] government will be confined to the South." European countries would not accept Somali attempts to violently seek power over Somaliland. "The Norwegian and Danish governments understand our position," Mr. Waraabe said. Tomorrow, the Somalilander delegation will meet officials at the Swedish Prime Minister's and Foreign Minister's offices.