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US State Department meeting recommends stronger engagement with Somaliland

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October 15, 2005 - 05:12

US State Department meeting recommends stronger engagement with Somaliland



Awdalnews Network.


WASHINGTON, 14 Oct. 2005--A US State Department and National Intelligence Council meeting on Somaliland and Somalia held here on Tuesday 13 Oct. 2005 concluded on a strong feeling for the need of international engagement and work with Somaliland.


The seminar attended by a number of US government departments and think-tanks, listened to a number of presentations by Somali studies specialists which included Iqbal Jhazbhay, Matt Bryden, Ken Menkhaus, David Shinn and Adre Le Sage.


Awdalnews Network has learned from a reliable source that there was a consensus for more engagement with Somaliland and it was agreed that the seminar conclusions would become material for the National Security Council.


It was also agreed that the TFG was unlikely to get off the ground for some time and that more work would be needed to deal with the reality that Islamist groups both in Somalia and Somaliland in terms of engaging them to take moderate Islamic positions.


"They currently have no contenders on the playing field and need to be engaged to ensure that they do not exploit this space either in education, health, law and order for extremist and military ends," the meeting recommended according to the source.


"In a meeting with some of the participants after the seminar, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs pointed out that the UK was of the attitude that the U.S should be more involved in Somaliland. "


The U.S. official also said that the U.S. government had made very clear to Abdullahi Yusuf during his recent visit to the US for the UN meeting in New York, that he did not have US support, but that the US supported the Somalia peace and reconciliation process.


One the papers presented during the meeting described Somaliland as a country having a better record on establishing democratic governance than any other country in the immediate region with the possible exception of Kenya, although warning that Somaliland's democracy was far from perfect.


It also noted that the dispute between Puntland and Somaliland over control of most of Sool region and eastern Sanaag region was an impediment to peace and acceptance of Somaliland’s independence.


"The non-participation in the electoral process of most of the Warsangeli in eastern Sanaag and the Dulbahante in Sool is the greatest challenge to Somaliland’s political legitimacy. To its detriment, the issue is largely being ignored by the government of Somaliland," the paper asserted.


Another view asserted that this matter required an approach of a cool mind and a warm heart and a much lower level of international focus to reslove this matter amicably.


In a related developement, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer, is schduled to have talks with South African officials soon to discuss the re-shaping of US foreign policy towards Africa.





© 2005 Awdalnews Network

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