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Somaliland Recognition & Development Convention Opens In Washington Metro Area On Friday

ISSUE 242
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Rayale Fails To Raise The Issue Of Igad Troop Deployment To Somaliland With Meles

''An Interim Agreement Gives Islamists An Edge In Somalia''

Somaliland, the Horn of Africa and US Policy

Somalia To Get Peace-Keepers

President Stresses Iran, Djibouti Common Political Views

A New Use For Camel's Milk: Sell It Abroad

The Crisis In The Horn Of Africa: Nomads With No Future

Somalia Warns Uganda On Troops

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia: Banking At The Somaliland Border

Pastoralists Call On Governments To Improve Legislation On Livestock Sales - Report

Somalia Stutters Towards Stability

Negotiators For Somali Government, Islamists Hold Face-To-Face Talks In Sudan

Editorial
Special Report

International News

US Moves Nairobi Embassy Bomb Suspect To Cuba

US Struggles For New Somalia Policy

Brothers' Epic Feat For Charity

Cinema Is Now A Crime In Somalia

Toll hits 30 after more Somalis murdered

World In Danger Of Missing Sanitation Target; Drinking-Water Target Also At Risk, New Report Shows

Coping With Terror Threat To Tourism

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Respect Tribes: They Do What Weak States Cannot

Remarks Made By Dr. Saad Noor At The Washington Post’s Debate On The Islamic Courts And Their Possible Influence In The Horn Region Of Africa

Somali Islamists Ban Music; "Intimidated" Top Artist Agree

Somalia's Money Lifeline Is In Limbo

America’s Somali Policy Still Dangerously Adrift

Somalis Left To A Life In Limbo As Peace Talks Are Put On Hold

Food for thought

Opinions

Somaliland : Love It Or Leave It

Protection Of Taxpayers’ Rights

The ICG Report Was A True Reflection Of The Facts On The Ground In Somaliland

Open Letter To Somalilanders Specially To SOPRI Conference Participants

Crying For Somaliland

Somalia : Cutting Through The Fog

UNDP/WORLD Bank Mission For JNA Undermined Somaliland Political Integrity

The Theory of Backwardness and Somalia/Somaliland Political Stage


WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2006 – As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes her message of a new American foreign policy emphasizing democracy and human rights to Africa and Middle East. a Convention to discuss those same issues is being held this weekend in the Washington Metro Area. The subject of discussion to discuss those topics plus Somaliland’s quest for international recognition this weekend. Representatives of the Somaliland government, political parties, business community, civil society, student associations and friends of Somaliland will participate in the three-day Convention.

The Convention is sponsored by the local Somaliland Policy & Reconstruction Institute (SOPRI), Somaliland Diaspora communities in the United States and Canada, and American friends of this small democratic nation on the Horn of Africa.

The centerpiece of President Bush’s second term foreign policy agenda is the doctrine of ending tyranny and spreading democracy in the developing world. Somaliland, an emerging constitutional democracy, is steadfastly following the President’s vision. The country has already held free and fair municipal, presidential and parliamentary elections since 2003. It is expected that the Convention will have a great symbolic significance during this critical period of transition to democracy in Somaliland. The people of Somaliland are committed to build a society that stands for the rule of law, democracy and peace in the Horn of Africa region – and are worthy ally of the United States in the war against terror, extremism and weapons proliferation in the world.

Background

The former British Somaliland first won its independence in 1960, and with European encouragement, joined with the former Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia. That merger failed, and a disastrous civil war followed. In 1991, Somaliland declared its independence, and the rest of Somalia fell to the control of several war lords.

Somaliland was devastated during the civil war, but has reestablished itself. It now seeks recognition from the international community so it can establish normal commercial, economic and institutional relations with the rest of the world. The themes of Somaliland Recognition meets such as this convention focus on democracy and recognition, education and social development, economic development and natural resources, and the role of Diaspora communities in the development of Somaliland.

Somaliland has been building its own democratic structure for the past 15 years. It has political parties, multi-party elections, a free market economy, and is protective of the rights of women. In 2000, a constitution based on principles of representative democracy was unanimously approved by the people. In 2002,2003 and 2005, municipal, presidential and parliament elections were held, and certified as free and fair. When parliamentary elections are held this September, Somaliland will have elected representatives at the local and national level, further enhancing it as a model of democracy on the Horn of Africa.

The Convention

The Convention will give the participants an opportunity to review Somaliland’s achievements and challenges. The delegates will hear analysis of a variety of related issues and will propose appropriate recommendations on the way forward. The Convention will provide a forum to discuss the status of democracy building and governance in Somaliland, and the need for the international community to recognize, encourage and support those efforts.

Despite all its remarkable accomplishments under very difficult circumstances, Somaliland is currently denied access to normal relations and interactions with the international community. It, therefore, seeks full access to, and participation in, international fora in order to both contribute to, and benefit from, normal relations with the rest of the world. In particular,

  • Membership in the United Nations, African Union and other international and regional bodies,
  • Access to international development assistance from both bilateral and multilateral institutions,
  • Access to guarantees and export credits from entities like the   U.S. Export-Import Bank for firms that desire trade with and investment in Somaliland, and
  • Removal of the current restriction on business and private travel

Somali Landers hope that the visit of Secretary Rice to the several African countries and the new emphasis in American foreign policy will signal a new beginning for Somaliland and its aspirations. The United States and Great Britain have been reluctant in the past to re-recognize Somaliland, ostensibly fearing that this would be viewed as altering the conventional stance of the international community on such question, regardless of how dysfunctional affairs are elsewhere in Somalia.

Convention speakers and guests include prominent policy makers, leaders of political parties, legislators, community and civil society leaders from inside Somaliland as well as renowned personalities from the US, Canada, Japan, South Africa and Somalilanders from the Diaspora worldwide.

We sincerely hope you will be able to join us, and add your considerable expertise and voice to what most experts consider Africa’s best kept secret in the midst of a turbulent region. Convention agenda and logistical details are available on SOPRI web site:

www.sopri.org

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Please contact us if we can be of assistance in facilitating your coverage of this important international event or for access to the personalities involved here in Washington DC.

Thanks!
Ahmed Mahdi

Somaliland Policy & Reconstruction Institute(SOPRI)

Saeed M. Samater, President

213-272-5410 - ssamater@aol.com

Contact: Ahmed Mahdi, Media Director & Convention Vice-chair

1-202-415-5165 - amahdi1@cox.net

Rashid Nur, Conference Coordinator

1-703-981-5604 - rashidnur@cox.net

Source: The Somaliland Times

 


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