The elders and tribal chiefs on their side welcomed the plans and pledged to help and stressed it was their interest to defuse tensions across the Somali Peninsula.
Talks between the two sides was first proposed during the London Conference on Somalia in February this year. The direct talk has since stalled and Somaliland says it is largely due to the TFG’s decision to include members from Somaliland community in its negotiation team.
Both Sheikh Sharif and the Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo nominated a team of negotiators charged with enhancing dialogues and cooperation. Somaliland formed a team of five where as the TFG nominated seven members which included two who happen to hail from regions within Somaliland territorial borders.
Somaliland insisted that their (TFG) nomination was a key source of dispute and that if talks were to resume, the TFG, must form a new team.
Somaliland Foreign minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, who was leading the Hargeisa team, accused the TFG of ‘hidden agenda’ and withdraw from the talks.
Now following the recent Istanbul conference, the international community has urged both sides to be more flexible and to resume talks. Sheikh Sharif said on Friday he was willing to resume dialogue with Hargeisa and that negotiations were
Meanwhile Hargeisa says it needs greater clarity about the TFG’s overall agenda and that it is always ready for talks. If talks resume, Somaliland is expected to go there with the same general demands. They warned that they will not start “talks for the sake of talks” with Mogadishu unless their requests were met.
This would be the first direct talks between Hargeisa and Mogadishu since the collapse of Somalia’s last central government of dictator Mohamed Siad Bare in 1991.