|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
The Collapse Of The Khartoum Talks And Somaliland’s Recognition
The international community can no longer
The collapse of the third round of the Khartoum talks between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts Union demonstrates beyond any doubt that neither the two Somali rival factions nor their regional mediators were prepared to make the necessary compromises for the scheduled peace negotiations to take place and to succeed.
In fact it has been evident from the begging that the only reason why each of the TFG and the ICU accepted attending the talks has been to avoid being blamed by the international community as the side undermining Somalia’s peace process. The ICU refused even to begin the talks, insisting that the Ethiopians withdrew their troops from Somalia’s territory and Kenya’s co-chairing of the meeting be replaced by Sudan before they could be able to attend. The TFG countered by making its own precondition: no talks unless Kenya is allowed to co-chair. The two delegations were so uninterested in the talks that each one avoided casually meeting members of the other side at the corridors of their Khartoum hotel.
IGAD and the Arab league can not also escape part of the blame for what happened at Khartoum. It is well known that both Kenya and Ethiopia supported the TFG while the Eritreans and Arab countries, with the exception of Yemen, backed the ICU. Yet the two regional blocks made no serious attempts to use their enormous influence with their respective Somali clients to get them talking to each other.
Frankly there exists little, if any, incentive for both the ICU and the TFG to be interested in a peace deal at this juncture.
Relying on the huge external support that they are still getting, the two belligerents remain determined to slug it out militarily until one side destroys the other. Even the surprise visit to be paid to Mogadishu today by the speaker of the TFG parliament, Sharif Hassan, comes too late to prevent the outbreak of war. The visit, albeit a heroic attempt by the Speaker to salvage the peace talks, might only lead to a split up of the TFG into 2 or more factions.
With the ICU and TFG militias along with their allied foreign troops poised to go into war against each other, the best thing that the international community could do now is to take the necessary steps toward minimizing the regional effects of the conflict when it occurs.
In this respect, one of the most appropriate actions that may be promptly considered by the international committee is granting recognition to stable, peaceful, self-reliant and democratic Somaliland. Recognition of Somaliland has been long overdue and if granted now would help his country enormously whether in terms of coping with a spill over from the conflict brewing in Somalia or mounting an effective defense against the nefarious new threats posed by extremists within the ICU.
As an oasis of peace in a troubled region, Somaliland has already drawn attention as a valuable asset for regional security as well as international security. Recognition of Somaliland would greatly help in bringing leaders in the former Italian Somalia to their senses.
A recognized Somaliland would be seen as a model for democracy by the Muslim people in Somalia and elsewhere in the region. Recognition would enable Somaliland to serve as a bulwark against regional terrorism in a more effective manner while the lack of it would render Somaliland’s security more exposed and fragile.
Recognition would enable Somaliland to put its tremendous Somali experience in conflict resolution and state building under the disposal of its brothers in war-ravaged Somalia.
Somaliland was once a separate and internationally recognized country. Its recognition wouldn’t violate the African Union’s constitution which perpetuates colonial borders. Somaliland has not been recognized until now for political and not legal reasons.
And in the last 15 years since declaring withdrawal from its 1960 union with Somalia, Somaliland has shown how vitally important is its existence as an independent state to regional, and by extension, world security interests.
The defining moment has come now for sub Saharan Africa to bring Somaliland from the cold and enable it rejoin the African family. It is a challenge especially for the countries of this region such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia to embrace this historic moment by taking the lead in the question of Somaliland’s recognition Africa and the international community can no longer afford to delay the inevitable recognition of Somaliland.
Source: Somaliland Times