By Ali Mohamed
Lewis Center, Ohio—This week, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Ambassador Nicolas Kay, will visit Somaliland, for talks with the Somaliland government. The reason Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Yonis, gave Kay’s visit was “how Somaliland can get access to humanitarian and development aid…” But the United Nations is using aid as a ploy to bring Somaliland under its control. And if the Somaliland people and their elected leaders cave in to the UN’s manipulations; Somaliland as we know might cease to exist.
Last year, President Silanyo showed guts for refusing the United Nations mission in Somalia with its acronym UNSOM, to open an office in Somaliland. But the blunder of his foreign Minister, Yonis, a former UN bureaucrat himself, inviting his old friend Ambassador Kay back to Somaliland, is sending a mixed message.
What has changed politically over the year?
As far as we know, the UN still clings to the fiction that Somaliland is a part of Somalia. And the UN is obsessed with protecting the sanctity of the territorial integrity of a war torn country where billions of US dollars in training and financing of Somali and African troops from eleven countries thus far have failed to impose order.
In fact, the UN is actively forcing Somaliland both politically and diplomatically back into a dysfunctional “United” Somalia. The UN does not care about the Somaliland’s people aspiration for nationhood. It is not interested our constitution, government or what we have achieved for the last two decades. It is hostile towards to our cause. And, it views Somaliland as an obstacle to its own plan in Somalia.
Moreover, the UN signed an agreement with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s weak government on the status of the United Nations mission in Somalia, UNSOM. According to the press release, the agreement “established the legal framework under which the UNSOM will operate in Somalia.” The agreement gives UNSOM full access to the territories of Somalia including Somaliland.
Somaliland people would like to know from their President and his foreign minister, what legal framework would UNSOM operate in Somaliland?
Somaliland is at a crossroads: The Somaliland people cannot go about business as usual. We have to make a tough choice. We either defend our freedom and independence or submit to the demands of the UN bureaucrats. Somaliland’s independence cannot survive if we follow to the UNSOM path. The path our foreign Minister, Yonis, is advocating in backroom deals under the guise of bringing aid.
The real purpose of the UNSOM is not to advance peace, rule of the law and human rights in Somaliland. Somaliland already has law and order. In May 2001, the will of the people was supported in a referendum by more than 90 percent of the population. Somaliland is a sea of calm in a region infested with bloodshed, violence, bad governance, and terrorism. Somaliland does not want UNSOM nor does it need its aid.
Moreover, Somaliland’s independence is legal because self determination is the centerpiece of international law. In fact, The Article I of the United Nations Charter states clearly that the main purpose of the UN is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of people,”
The UN’s actions in Somalia make peace and justice a mockery. As Lenin said before, “Words are one thing. Actions are another.”
The UN needs to understand that Somalia’s (south Somalia) Clans need a massive genuine political reconciliation before they need a UN drafted constitution, fictional federal states, President, Prime Minister and parliament. A quick political fix, foreign manipulations, and aid dependency will not work.
During a visit to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s UN Ambassador, said, “Members of the security expressed their expectation that the Somali government will urgently establish an independent electoral commission, lead process to revise the constitution, hold a referendum on it by the end of 2015,”
After that referendum, if it happens, would the UN Security Council recognize the results by the 4 million Somaliland people to determine their own political future democratically by a ballot box in 2015?
Indeed, Somaliland also needs a chance to decide its own fate and opportunity for investment and trade, and better life for its citizens.
For two years, Somaliland and Somalia held endless talks—which went nowhere–to decide on their future relationship. Somaliland also cooperated with the UN, but it has achieved nothing politically in return.
For now, it is time for Somaliland to stop engaging with the UN and the Somali government it is backing. But when the UN and the Somali government and its western backers accept the rights of Somaliland to decide its own political destiny—if that happens–Somaliland should talk with them. Neither the UN nor Mogadishu is ready for a peaceful and sustainable diplomatic solution for Somalia’s conflict.
Why should the UN bureaucratics determine the future of Somaliland?
That future, if the UN’s ‘Road Map” for Somalia succeed; Somaliland would come under the rule of a puppet government in Mogadishu—where chaos and corruption prevail. It is risky. President Silanyo must stop the charade before it is too late.
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