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From Africa to West Papua, unrecognized nations push for self-determination

Issue 330
Front Page

Riyale Forced To Talk With The Opposition But Unwilling To Accept He Is No Longer President

National Union Of Somaliland Journalists Proclaimed

Somaliland Foreign Minister receives French diplomats

From Africa to West Papua, unrecognized nations push for self-determination

Islamist leader says Somalia talks waste of time

Security Council Express Strong Support For Secretary-General's Integrated Strategy For Peace In Somalia

Declaration Opening the World Order to De facto States

Somaliland overrides 17 years of underestimation

Policy Failures In Somalia Conflict

Regional Affairs

Meeting Between The Government & Opposition Leaders In Hargeysa

Clan militias in Kismayo feel pressure again

Special Report

International News

Bush presses Arab leaders on reform

Moldova And Transdniester Parliament Leaders Meet In Brussels For EU-Led Talks



Different Kind Of World Cup

What Vietnam taught McCain about war

Campaign to establish a radical Islamic state

Somaliland - Setting aside the political differences for Common Goals

Egypt Con Man Gets 1,000 Years

Collaboration requires a strong home base

Food for thought


Both in Puntland and Somaliland, Siyad's goons are in charge

The Past Haunts Me


Time Is Up Mister

Together We Shall Overcome The Crisis

Is There A Problem Between Opposition Parties And Dahir Riyale

Peace In Somaliland Is At The Fork Of Ephemerality And Endurance

Mohamoud A. Daar, Somaliland's representative to the EU

BRUSSELS, Belgium, May 16, 2008 - It has a functioning parliament, its own currency and a viable economy boosted by hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) from a diaspora — yet international recognition remains a dream for Somaliland.

Representatives from the breakaway, self-declared republic in northern Somalia and some 40 other regions from western Africa to eastern Asia met in the European Parliament Friday to push for their cause. Some are asking to be recognized as independent states, others simply wanting to raise awareness of their nation's or tribe's difficulties under a government which they say oppresses them.

"We hope recognition will come soon. We've done so much in the areas of reconstruction, expanding schools, water supplies. We have a military, a central bank, a coastal guard looking after our 900-kilometer (560-mile) coast," Mohamoud A. Daar, Somaliland's representative to the EU, said during the conference.

Organized by the Dutch-based Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, or UNPO, which lobbies with the U.N., European Union and other institutions on behalf of some 70 unrepresented regions across the world, the conference discussed the practical difficulties of de facto states. They include the inability to get a loan from an international institution, health problems because of denied access to the World Health Organization, or security issues at airports within unrecognized territories.

"UNPO convened this conference not to address whether or not these entities should be independent, which is a very complex and controversial matter, but to deal with the reality that these pockets of the world do exist and function, to varying degrees, as states," the organization said in a declaration.

Nathan Buck, a UNPO official, said some of the peoples' perceived right to independence "is obviously very subjective." But he said the organization represents regions based on transparent criteria such as nonviolence and respect for international human rights standards.

UNPO members have met at least once every 18 months since 1991, and Buck said securing visas and permits for the representatives to travel to Brussels has taken months — and dozens of people still have not made it.

Members from the separatist Georgian province of Abkhazia, which is supported by Russia and has been de-facto independent since a 1990s secessionist war, traveled to Moscow to get their visas.

Representatives from Nagaland state on India's eastern border with Myanmar, where the Naga people have been fighting for a half century to create a separate country, had to go to Bangkok, Thailand, rather than New Delhi, India, but did not receive their EU visas anyway, Buck said.

Daar, Somaliland's representative, illustrated some of the practical difficulties of living in a non-recognized state. The economy of the region in the Horn of Africa, which declared independence from war-torn Somalia in 1991, has been entirely homegrown because it cannot get any loans from institutions such as the World Bank. It makes money from livestock exports and has received hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) annually from people from Somaliland who are living abroad, Daar said.

Somaliland has signed an agreement on cooperation with neighboring Ethiopia, but business with other countries is on an ad-hoc basis.

Daar said he remains hopeful that the African Union, which sent a fact-finding team to Somaliland in 2005, would act on the mission's recommendation and recognize Somaliland as an independent country.

"We're more stable than many of the quasi states around us," Daar said.

Source: International Herald Tribune


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