Ankara, 4 Jumadil Akhir 1434/14 April 2013 (MINA) – Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu mediated round of talks between Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and President of the autonomous region of Somaliland Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo in capital Ankara, Saturday (13/4).
Davutoglu gathered with Somali President Mohamud before the two joined Somaliland President Silanyo in a trilateral meeting, which was held behind closed doors, according to Turkish Press report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
The talks (the first at the presidential level) were aimed at devising dialogue channels and keeping them open to work out problems between Somalia and the autonomous region of Somaliland, Turkish diplomatic sources said.
The media reported the two presidents were also scheduled to meet with their Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul as well as with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Somaliland, a former British colony, declared in 1991 independence from the Federal Republic of Somalia proclaiming the Somaliland Republic, which has been internationally unrecognised since then.
Meanwhile, the autonomous region seeks recognition as a separate country, a demand rejected by Somalia which wants the northern region to be a part of a single Somali state.
The government of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to the British Somaliland protectorate, which was independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland,before uniting with the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) on 1 July 1960 to form the Somali Republic.
In 1988, the Siad Barre regime committed massacres against the people of Somaliland, which were among the events that led to the Somali Civil War. The war left the economic and military infrastructure severely damaged. After the collapse of the central government in 1991, the local government, led by the Somali National Movement (SNM), declared independence from the rest of Somalia on 18 May of the same year.
Since then, the territory has been governed by an administration that seeks self-determination as the Republic of Somaliland. The local government maintains informal ties with some foreign governments, who have sent delegations to Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland.
Ethiopia also maintains a trade office in the region.However, Somaliland’s self-proclaimed independence remains unrecognised by any country or international organisation. (T/P09/P03)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)