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Somaliland President’s visit to the UAE: a small step with big meaning

Issue 318
Front Page

Government Ends Short Arab Hunting Expedition Amid Local Concerns

The Letter That Set The Stage For The 1988 Genocide Of The Isaaqs

Somaliland President Delighted With His First Visit To The Arab World

Kosova’s Independence Sets Precedent

France To Fund Cultural Activities In Somaliland

Interview With KULMIYE Party’s Shadow Secretary For Foreign Affairs

In Kenya's peace process, devils in the details

The Forgotten Country

The "New Strategy" For Somalia Collapses

Ethiopian Gen. 'slaps Somali President'

Kenya can't solve it alone

Extension of Peace Mission's Mandate Not Enough, Says Somali Government

Aids, oil and Africom on Bush tour

Regional Affairs

Somalia's former Prime Minister summoned to Ethiopia

Ethiopia Troops Arrive in Central Region, Fighting Rocks in Afgoi

Somaliland: President Kahin Accuses Puntland Of Aid Worker's Abduction

Special Report

International News

Fayed Says UK Royals Wanted To "Get Rid Of" Diana

US to Work to Prevent Kosovo Backlash

Shining light on business achievements


Somaliland Cultural Sites Remain Little Known Outside East Africa

The King of Kush reigns in Edmonton’s vibrant ‘Little Mogadishu’

Under Fire in Kenya?

Africa Wins One

Bush in Africa: It’s all about controlling wealth

Specialist Task Force On Pastoral Policy For Africa Gathers In Addis Ababa 19 To 20 February 2008

Fallout over airport prayer space exposes deep tensions

How to solve a Problem like Auschwitz

Somalia - Annual Report 2008

Giving Peace A Chance: Rotary Announces New Class Of World Peace Fellows

Food for thought


Struggle For Kulmiye Party Nomination In Full Speed

Democracy Requires Tracking Government Policies And Correcting Discrepancies

A Message To Southern Somalia

Wearisome Time For The Emerging Nation Of Somaliland

Somaliland Should Now Be Recognized After Kosovo

UDUB Needs To Learn From Sillanyo


In isolation, the visit of Somaliland’s President Dahir Rayale Kahin to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would seem to be a minor event. For one thing, the visit was unofficial. Second, it was not even mentioned by the United Arab Emirates’ media. But when you consider all the efforts that Arab countries have exerted, for the last seventeen years, in trying to isolate Somaliland, this small event takes a bigger significance. If nothing else, it is a tacit admission on the part of the UAE’s rulers, or by some members of the UAE’s ruling elite, that the policy of isolating Somaliland has not worked, and perhaps it is time to try something different.

There are several factors which support the perception that President Kahin’s visit may be signaling a change in the UAE’s policy toward Somaliland:

  • The fact that President Kahin was hosted by a high ranking member of the ruling family, namely, UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
  • President Kahin’s visit to the UAE took place on the heels of his visit to the UAE’s two strongest allies, the United Kingdom and the United Sates, and amid a perceptible shift in US policy toward Somaliland as evidenced by the visit of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, to Somaliland.
  • Increasing acceptance of Somaliland by the international community, especially among major European powers such as Germany, where Somaliland was widely praised for freeing a German national from his kidnappers, and France which has sent a delegation to Somaliland this week.

This favorable international context definitely adds to the importance of the visit.

So, on the face of it, the president’s visit to the UAE may seem a small step, but it is worthwhile to remember that in the world of international diplomacy, small steps may lead to big results. America’s “Ping-Pong diplomacy” with China, and Kissinger’s subsequent secret visit to Beijing, which eventually led to the opening to China, is a good example.

Source: Somaliland Times

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