Africa Opportunities

UN Seeks to Resume Working Relationship with Somaliland

The United Nations is angling towards dealing with Somaliland independent from Somalia after initiating talks with President Musa Bihi of Somaliland.

Reports indicate United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, held telephone talks, negotiating on new terms that will allow the UN and its agencies to deal with Somaliland separately.

This comes just a fortnight after Somaliland suspended all humanitarian engagements and other activities of the United Nations in the country following a move by the UN to sign a cooperation agreement with Somalia.

Somaliland took a swipe at the UN for disrespecting its sovereignty and working with Somalia to micromanage affairs in their country and demanded that the United Nations deal with the country as an independent nation from Somalia.

The talks between Bihi and Swan focused specifically on restoring relations and cooperation between the two parties as Bihi remained adamant his country must be treated independently and as a sovereign nation.

Last week, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi accused the United Nations of taking orders from the Somali government and engaging in the regional politics.

Somaliland’s impasse with the UN arose from an agreement signed between the organization and Somalia a fortnight ago.

The UN signed a cooperation agreement with Somalia on working together over the next five years for achieving “peace, stability and prosperity for all Somalis,” according to a UN statement.

The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework‘s (UNCF) agreement was signed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in presence of senior officials from the two sides, including Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia James Swan.

But Somaliland termed this as an affront to its sovereignty saying it will not be part of that agreement.

Somaliland and Somalia were separate countries in the colonial era with Somaliland under the British protectorate while Somalia was an Italian colony. The two countries merged after independence in 1960 but Somaliland walked away from the Union 31 years later.