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Dr. Ahmed Hussein Ise: America Is Ready To Establish Ties With Somaliland
Dubai, January 5, 2008 – A Somaliland Presidential candidate expressed his belief that the U.S. government was about to establish relations with Somaliland.
Talking to Awdalnews Network, Dr. Ahmed Hussein Isa, who is contesting for the leadership of the main opposition party Kulmiye, also affirmed that Somaliland could play a positive role in bringing peace to Somalia if the warring faction leaders in Mogadishu and the international community accepted Somaliland’s secession.
He described the situation of the eastern Sool region, a disputed area between Somaliland and Puntland, which has been captured recently by Somaliland as “over”. “The Sool region is in the hands of Somaliland,” he said.
Ise denied that there was any conflict between the Pentagon and the State Department on the issue of Somaliland.
Answering a question on recent news reports that the Pentagon favored the recognition of Somaliland while the State Department opted for a cue from the African union first, Ise said, “ I think that debate is over and there is no difference of opinion between the two sides now. I have just come from Washington D.C. and I know the latest developments. Both sides agree on establishing relations with Somaliland as soon as possible. Soon we shall see a movement between Somaliland and the United States.”
Describing Somaliland’s case as a legitimate, Ise said that Somaliland existed as a separate entity, despite being under colonial rule, for 75 years, it had internationally recognized borders, and it gained its independence and existed a short time as a sovereign state.
“But countries do not recognize each other on the basis of legitimacy. They recognize each other on interest,” Ise said, adding that Somaliland has to sell its interest through a robust diplomatic initiative.
He noted that although the international feeling was softening towards Somaliland, Somaliland should not take such positive attitude as Carte blanche.
“We have to fulfill certain conditions in order to gain recognition,” Ise said, “ we need to complete the democratization process, we need to guarantee human rights and freedom of speech and not wait for preaching from the Amnesty International, we need to eliminate corruption and bring a system based on justice and good governance. Therefore, Somaliland is required to put its house in order first.”
On the issue of Las Anod and whether it could be an obstacle to Somaliland’s recognition, Ise said that there were rebellious groups that oppose existing regimes in many parts of the world. “But Somaliland is not a recognized country. Therefore one of the first things it has to do is to secure its international borders. The Las Anod issue has been an obstacle to Somaliland over the last four and a half years. But I believe it is over now. The Sool region is in the hands of Somaliland. I do not expect the Las Anod issue to pose any major problem to Somaliland in the future.”
Somaliland has recently captured Las Anod, capital of the eastern Sool region, which Somaliland considers as part of its historical territory. Most of the people of the region, however, regard the region as part of the autonomous state of Puntland to which they share clan ties.
On the issue of Qaran party, Ise expressed his belief that the Somaliland constitution allowed the citizens to form new political parties at the time of local government elections.
“I do not believe in political monopoly. I believe that Qaran party has a right to exist and compete in the local government elections. I also believe that all the three existing political parties are against Qaran or any other party to come to the scene,” Ise said.
Answering a question on Somaliland’s decision to expel journalists who escaped from Mogadishu and sought shelter in Somaliland, Ise described the government’s action as “wrong and unfair.”
He called upon the government to reconsider its expulsion orders and accept the journalists and anyone else who comes in the future to Somaliland, he said.
Affirming his candidacy for the leadership of the main opposition Kulmiye party, which will pave the way for him to contest Somaliland’s presidential elections to be held in August 2008, Ise said that Somaliland needed not only a leadership change but also a generational change.
“The country is ruled by the political mentality of the 1960s,” he said, “I have a good agenda for Somaliland and I think I can sell my agenda to the people.” He noted that he preferred the party congress to be held soon to adopt a system where the party’s candidates for president and vice president can run on the same ticket.
On the possibility of finding political parties calling for Somaliland’s unity with Somalia, Ise said that the democracy and freedom of speech in Somaliland should allow any citizen to form any party according to his beliefs and principles.
“Personally I am not against anyone calling for unity with Somalia. This is democracy and Somaliland constitution recognizes freedom of speech. But I do not think the people are ready for such initiative. I think it will be foolish to embark on such adventure at this moment.”
Asked about the deteriorating situation in Somalia and whether Somaliland can play a role to bring the warring factions together in Hargeysa, Ise said that Somaliland could only play a role if it was accepted as a separate state that was not part of the Somali problem.
“Only then Somaliland can use its good offices, extend an invitation to warring parties and play a positive role in restoring peace and stability to Somalia,” he concluded.