Reyallee Comes out of His Silence and Speaks to GIC

  • We do not exploit the chaos in the South to get international recognition
  • We are looking forward to a dialogue with the Arab League and it should not lock the doors up before us
Gulf Information Center  
April21, 2005  

Interviewed by Mohammed Taha Twekel

Translated by Abdulhafiz Yassin Mohammed



Somalia land, or (the separatist) republic as it is called, is pacing towards economic development, political pluralism and consolidation of democracy, security and stability in a circumference full of contradictions and fields of mines. It does not have international recognition until now despite all what it has accomplished over the last 14 years of its unilaterally declared independence. It has been knocking at every gate, in the course of its desperate attempts and persistent endeavors within the international family to snatch its recognition, ever since the era of the late Ibrahim e’qaal but to no avail with the exception of the developmental cooperation it has got from many African and European countries. Moreover, the war lords who are controlling the South of Somalia, which is reigned by chaos, do consider the separation of Somali land from the country a big blow to their dreams. As a result they differ on everything but do only agree in the unity of Somalia which is deemed a holy point and they describe the attempts of the authorities of [hrjysaa] towards independence as desperate and irregular. Somaliland, on the opposite, adheres to the right of secession and makes sure that it will not retreat from it for it is the absolute choice of its people and accuses the international family of denying its natural rights for self-determination.

The president of Somaliland, who is the second elected head for this (country) since its unilateral declaration of separation in 1991, has given up his silence and spoke, for the first time, to Gulf Information Center about his republic’s relations with the neighboring states, Arab league, African and European unions, America, and Britain as well as unity and separation, and the economic and political leaps which his country has accomplished. The following are the excerpts of the interview.

*Why the international family does not recognize Somali land after all these years of declaration of independence?

Somalia land is now considered the safest area in the entire region but the world does not see that. Somali land, at the moment, leads 60 states the United Nations recognizes in areas of population, economy, security and all capacities of a state. We have newspapers, radio stations, communications ,foundations of civil societies and other basic infrastructure which qualify us to become a member in the United Nations;’ and we depend on privatization in all sectors for the sake of developing our country. We have become, at the present time, a reality and an international figure and all should deal with us on this basis. Although we have not yet realized an international recognition, we have at least accomplished a considerable amount of development of our country. And our people recognize this fact and this is the most important thing. For example, after the death of [e’qaal], the authority was passed onto his successor only within three hours in a peaceful way; a matter which confirms the presence of foundations of strong state, laws and strict constitution which is respected by all and nobody comes out of it. The constitution is a valve of safety for the future of Somaliland and it looks forward for international recognition.

*Some accuses you for exploiting the chaos in the South to snatch out an international recognition?

We believe that all outside conferences do results outside governments. And the13 Somali reconciliation conferences have worthily proved their failures. We are not concerned by these conferences, and we believe that all conferences were targeting us in the first place and not to solve problems of  the South of Somalia and Somali war lords are known for differing on everything but do agree on provoking  disturbances and turmoil in Somalia land to hinder its course of independence. We have confirmed, more than once, our readiness to contribute in solving the ongoing disputes in Somalia through our experiences and our brothers in the South should benefit from our experiences in disarmament and achievement of security and reconciliation from within without any support from any party. By the way, we will guarantee independence more if peace and stability prevails in the South of Somalia.

Today, we also refuse if others request us to unite with a state which does not exist on the real ground and sacrifice by the security and stability of our people and go to chaos to become a party  with the warlords .We would not do so and our relation with the South could be within the framework of two neighboring states; but we will never return to unity at all and secession is our (way out). It is the choice of our nation.

*Your relations with the Arab league and causes of your differences and tensions between it and you?

We have contacts, from time to time, with the Arab League and we estimate the role of the league in mediating in many disputes in which it has succeeded, but it did not play similar roles in Somalia and its role was negative. We did not consent of it at all and its non- speaking with us has deprived the League from its role in Somalia. We believe now, under the chairmanship of Amr Moussa, that it can play an important role and it can open with us a dialogue in several courses, and the League should also commend what we have accomplished in security, stability, economy and democracy, and it should stop rewarding  warlords who are implicated in committing crimes of war against the Somali people especially the people of the North. Somalia land was the first to demand inclusion of Somalia to the Arab League during the Somali unity.

*Relati ons of Somaliland with Yemen?

 It is an old relation and of historic dimensions. And Yemen is among the biggest Arab countries which are connected to Somaliland, and we have solid business relations with it, and we request the Yemeni President to play a more axial role in Somalia for the realization of peace in the South of Somalia. Understanding has prevailed between Somaliland and Yemen since several years and it is necessary and vital. Especially at this time Yemen is hurt from the chaos which Somali is witnessing. This necessitates on Yemen to carry out tremendous efforts to contain this situation.

*Your relations with Egypt?

 Unfortunately, Egypt is still opposing our independence although we keep on our relations with it. It is among the important regional powers and we see that establishment of natural relations with it is an important matter for us. We were expecting that Egypt would understand the suffering of our people and support our rights in self-determination and not to object this right. There is no a state in Somalia; as a result, we took our decision and decided our  position and choice after we were exposed to the ugliest crimes from our brothers in the South and we count on Egypt  and  other Arab states that they do not understand our attitude and our motives. We see the importance of having a dialogue between us and our brothers in Egypt and we will accept all their remarks and they should listen to our opinion as we are people of a ‘cause’. It is important that others should know that we are not ready, at this time, to discuss the point of unity because there is no basically an other party with which we can unite since there is no state in Somali.

* You criticize the Arabs but what have the Africans done for you?

 The attitude of Africans was a stance of (the onlooker) in contrary to the Arab stance which had become a party in the dispute through supporting this party or that party.  At least, the commissioner of the African Union Omr Konare sat with us and listened to our viewpoint and we have continuous communications with the general commission of the African Union. And based on our example of dialogue with the African Union, we are also looking forward to a dialogue with the Arab League. We believe it is important.

*How about the persons who were arrested on the accusation of terrorism in your country?

Yes. We have arrested a terrorist group inside Somaliland through cooperating with regional and international bodies within the framework of fighting terrorism. They are now under investigation and final arbitration will be issued regarding the charges which are directed against them, and they have confessed until now that these people are connected to the Islamic Union, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Moreover, they are an armed looting group which came from Mogadishu and other areas in South of Somalia. In general, we have an independent judicial body which will issue its final rule concerning this group which we believe that they constitute a threat not only to Somalia but to all the countries of the region.

*And generally, do you believe in the presence of a terrorist group in Somaliland just as some allege?

The chaos prevails in all areas of Somalia except Somaliland and the war lords are dominating most of the parts of the country and this, in it self, is a way of terrorism. The South has been changed into isolated islands. It is ruled by the law of the war chiefs- the law of jungle. In light of this situation all possibilities may take place. All those who are escaping from justice and the chased as well as the wanted are taking Somalia as a refuge for them. And we have entrance measures and strict residence in our republic anticipating the incoming from the South.  Terrorist activity does prevail in Somalia and it has become an epidemic which threatens the entire region and not only Somalia; and anxiety will be continuous in light of the political and security chaos in South Somalia.

*The new Somali President has accused you of provoking disturbances in the region of Punt land?

They are invalid accusations and not built on any basis, and Abdullah Yousef is among those who have caused the collapse of the central state and the crisis of Somalia. He and continuously accuses Somali land, but he should firstly solve his many problems in a realistic way after he became a head and after that he can dispute with others. We do not allow any intervention from him into our interior matters but we can help him in solving his problems which he is suffering from if he demands that because we also care about the stability of situations in other parts of Somalia.

*If the government in the South gets back how would your relations be with it?

We hope that and we will establish with it relations just as we do with other states in the region like Ethiopian, Djibouti and Kenya. Relations that are based on cooperation ,respect and  exchange of joint interests in a  way that serves the future of our people which we are looking forward after it has decided its choice by its will.

*Your attitude from intervention of African forces into Somalia?

This question does not concern us in the first place but we will be happy if the international community succeeds in assisting our brothers in the South and if the people is freed from the war lords and criminals of bandits and organized crime. We will, at least, guarantee a safe border with them. Therefore an intervention forces are important for the prevalence of security and stability but all previous experiences do make sure urgent need for an external force that control the situation in the South of Somalia.

*Your relations with the European Union and America?

Our relations with the European Union are distinguished relations. The European Union has dispatched several delegations into Somali land to train leaders on democracy and elections. The European Union gives us constantly developmental assistances. It is considered one of the important supporters for democracy and political pluralism in Somali land.

 We have relations with America but not up to the requested level and we always try  to explain to them our stance but we cooperate with them within the context of information exchange in the domain of war on terrorism. But our relation with Britain, which is our former colonizer, is distinguished and we hope that it would do plenty in the course of our independence.

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