However, the first set or those who are in favour of the talks differ in their ultimate objectives and each group wants to persuade the other in a cordial way: The people in the south of Somalia are supportive of the union whereas, quite the opposite, those in Somaliland are asking for their recognition from their counterpart in the south and from the international community. On the other hand, the latter crowd who is disconcerted to the kick off the Somalia –Somaliland dialogue, sees itself as a political loser if the current initiative bears fruits in one way or the other (Re-union or recognition).
Therefore, in this article I would like to reveal the deliberate manoeuvring of Dr Abdirahman Faroole, the president of Puntland who fit in to this disconcerted crowd.
Ever since the British Government hosted the London conference on Somalia in February 2012 and that dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia came into the agenda, the leader of Puntland was singing the blues as he spared no effort to get the attention of International community, by playing games and making frantic statements to pave the way for Puntland to be included in the process of Somaliland – Somalia Dialogue as an equal entity. He ranted to barricade any direct negotiation between Somaliland and the TFG of Somalia.
However, it is apparent that the Puntland administration is neither recognises Somaliland official borders as they claim some districts of Sanaag, Sool and Buhoodle of Somaliland nor respects the right of the TFG over his Majeerteenia regions in both the national and international levels.
On 19th of June 2012, as Dr Faroole is fighting with his teeth to sabotage the on-going peace dialogue, he submitted a complain letter entitled TFG-Somaliland Dialogue to Chevening House meeting held on 20-21 June 2012 (can be searched on Puntlandi.com). The letter was addressed to the UK ambassador to Somalia, The EU Special Envoy to Horn of Africa and the Norwegian ambassador to Kenya and also copied to the president and the prime minister of the TFG, Dr Mohiga, The S. Rep. of AU Commission to Somalia and Finally to the US Rep. To Somalia. But this letter was not copied to Somaliland.
The substance of the letter or the message it has carried can be summarized in two points a) the claim of some parts of Somaliland – Sanaag, Sool and Buhoodle – by Puntland and b) the barring of the two Puntland members from the selected negotiating committee by the Somalia’s TFG as demanded by Somaliland because the two members from Puntland were Somalilanders. However, during the meeting another letter from Khaatumo group arrived to the venue and basically refuted line item (a) of Puntland letter.
On 23 June 2012, Dr Abdirahman Faroole, the President of Puntland, gave an interview to the BBC Somali section in which he also casted doubt over the purpose of the meeting between the two presidents of Somaliland and Somalia (M.A. Mohamoud and Sh. Sharif Ahmed) held in Dubai on 28 June 2012, in which the presidents in their capacity as leaders of the two countries – Somaliland and Somalia- endorsed the outcome of the peace initiative talks in London and Istanbul.
Surprisingly, Mr Faroole was present in the venue where the two presidents were signing the agreement between the parties (Somaliland and Somalia) and the International Community is considering his administration as a part of Somalia (Southern Somalia) that is represented by President Sheikh Sharif in the occasion: the man that he is trying to share with his shoes.
That disparaging interview in which he told to Yusuf Garad of the BBC that the meeting was merely a gathering for which the sheikh was seeking for re-election and Silaayo for recognition and sarcastically said that he did not know how they could help each other on that. He added that few photos were posted together in the hall where he was at time. He openly pronounced in the interview that he is not supporting any peace initiative that he is not involved as a person and thus statement shows his egotism and his insatiable nature.
The whole interview was a gruff utterance to blight the on-going peace process. As a matter of fact it was the practice of Garowes’ successive administrationS to have their policies on their sleeves: keeping deviously the order of their house while at the same time sharing the power with Mogadishu Administrations or course-plotting for any change in power.
As a last resort, the Puntland president is now aiming to heal wounds with the Khaatumo Group and Ogaden people in a proposed meeting in Jigjiga with the aim of gathering weight to get in the way of the dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland.
Finally for Somaliland apart from that dialogue, there is an uphill task waiting for them that needs to be addressed in the soonest possible; Somaliland needs to tidy up its rather messy internal affairs. It has to expedite the settlement of all pending and sore issues whether it is political or tribal dealings all across Somaliland.
Mohamoud H Arrale