Somaliland is open to the proposal by a former American diplomat to open a US consulate in the country’s capital Hargeisa.
Foreign Affairs minister Yassin Haji Mohamud Hiir (Faraton) said the sentiments by the retired US envoy to Somalia Stephen M. Schwartz was an acknowledgement of Somaliland’s peace and stability and its important role in the Horn of Africa.
Stephen M. Schwartz who served as the first US envoy to Somalia (since 1991) between 2016-2017 in an opinion article directed at the incoming US President Joe Biden said time was ripe for the country to open a consulate in Somaliland.
He further stated that Somaliland stands to offer the United States a strategic base for its operations in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
In his letter, Schwartz said time has come for the US to work with the African Union and others to resolve Somaliland’s status by persuading Somalia’s next president to undertake immediate and serious negotiations.
“The United States should establish a consulate in Somaliland to assist U.S. citizens and businesses and to build relationships. It also should work with the African Union and others to resolve Somaliland’s status by persuading Somalia’s next president to undertake immediate and serious negotiations.” Schwartz stated.
“Somaliland’s status must be determined, which could allow for more cooperation and better management of disputed boundary issues,” he added.
Schwartz further said: “Somaliland’s stability and location—particularly the port of Berbera—could give the United States strategically useful options, but only if Somaliland has international legal standing to negotiate agreements.
And in reaction, the Somaliland foreign minister said: “We welcome Ambassador Stephen M. Schwartz’s suggestions, the ambassador said something worthwhile”.
“Of course, Ambassador. Schwartz, has clearly stated and acknowledged that Somaliland is a stable and accessible country, and as a government we are committed to strengthening our relationship with the world and to convince every country of our existence and what we have achieved.”
Somaliland has continued to push for international recognition and Schwartz sentiments will be a boost to the country’s efforts.