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Somaliland - Security

Somaliland claims status as an independent State with all its powers, institutional systems and tools in place without international recognition. Security is quite acceptable, Somaliland lives in a tense calm with its neighbour Puntland with whom it disputes territories of Sanaag and Sool provinces. Despite the Somaliland’s Government official stance that the country is in a development phase, the reality is that the country still requires humanitarian assistance and DRR programs.

The "Republic of Somaliland" has sought international recognition since 1991. While the United States does not recognize Somaliland as an independent state, and continues to believe that the question of Somaliland’s independence should be resolved by the African Union, the US Government continues regularly to engage with Somaliland as a regional administration and to support programs that encourage democratization and economic development in the Somaliland region. Reflecting the nature of this engagement, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto met with Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin and his delegation when they were passing through Addis Ababa in early January 2008; the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger held consultations with Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh and his team in Nairobi in Fall 2007; and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi E. Frazer also met with Somaliland Foreign Minister Dualeh during the African Union summit held in January 2007.

On April 25, 2013 US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with Somaliland administration President Ahmed Silanyo. Under Secretary Sherman and President Silanyo discussed issues of mutual concern, including stability, democracy and governance, and the need to combat al-Shabaab. The United States expressed support for continued dialogue between the Government of Somalia and Somaliland authorities, as took place in Turkey on April 13. The United States reiterated its strong support for a peaceful and united Somalia.

Little progress was made on efforts to restart talks between the Federal Government and “Somaliland”. The distancing of the two was triggered by a full transfer on 30 June 2018 of air space control from the International Civil Aviation Organization office in Nairobi to Mogadishu, and the Federal Government’s objection letter to donors regarding the “Somaliland” special arrangement — which had been put in place in 2013 alongside the New Deal Compact to ensure a certain share of international support was allocated to “Somaliland”. On 1 July 2018, during the fifty-eighth Independence Day celebrations, President Farmajo reiterated his call for talks between Somalia and “Somaliland”.

Heightened tensions between “Somaliland” and Puntland led to outbreaks of violence on 15 and 24 May 2018, near Tukaraq, in the disputed Sool region. The military confrontation resulted in several casualties and the displacement of about 15,000 civilians. With large-scale deployments of security forces or militias, as well as provocative statements by both “Somaliland” and Puntland, the situation continued to be extremely volatile. Since 28 May 2018, there had also been several demonstrations in Sool and Sanaag against the “Somaliland” government.

Clan violence continued across Somalia. On 9 May 2018, in El-Afweyn district, Sanaag region, at least 12 people were killed in clashes between the Habar-jelo subclan of Bi-ide and the Habar Yunis subclan of Saad at Garaad Dhidhin, prompting a public call from the “Somaliland” President to resolve the issue through dialogue. Clashes among intra-Somali security forces also continued and were reported mainly in Mogadishu and Hiraan region. Alleged Al-Shabaab attacks, particularly targeted assassinations, increased in the disputed Sool region, possibly due to Al-Shabaab’s exploitation of the Tukaraq conflict to expand its presence in “Somaliland” and Puntland.

The US Special Representative coordinated messages of the international community to “Somaliland” and Puntland to develop a four-point ceasefire proposal that included an end to hostilities, the initiation of dialogue between military commanders on the ground, secure humanitarian access for displaced persons and the commencement of talks about separation of forces and the exchange of detained security personnel.

President Bihi of “Somaliland” accepted the proposal in writing, while Puntland President Gaas, having verbally accepted the proposal to the Special Represent ative, was reluctant to commit further without assurances concerning the withdrawal of “Somaliland” forces from Tukaraq. From 28 to 30 July, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UNSOM launched a joint initiative to take mediation efforts forward. In a follow-up visit from 7 to 9 August, a joint IGAD and UNSOM delegation shared with Puntland and “Somaliland” authorities a set of principles that could be the basis for negotiations between the two sides. Though both sides accepted most of those principles, some issues remained that l required more discussion and clarification.

Somaliland considers Puntland as the obnoxious child of Somalia. Somaliland faces Djibouti, Somalia, Puntland, Iran, Qatar, and Houthi rebels. And Somaliland officials grow worrisome about the UAE's ability to train and equip Somaliland troops, as UAE may be accused of violating the UN arms embargo against Somaliland and Somalia.



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