The second event in which the president took part was the meeting with Somalia’s president, Sheikh Sharif. This was the first meeting between a Somaliland president and a president of Somalia. At the end of the meeting, a four-point statement was signed in which both sides agreed to continue the dialogue. Each side got something from the meeting. Somaliland cemented the idea that this meeting and all subsequent encounters will be between Somaliland and Somalia, and no third party can gate crash them as Puntland once tried to do. The statement issued after the meeting, plus the various previous understandings in which both sides pledged not to do anything that will harm the security of the other side, makes it impossible for the TFG to support Khatumo or any other group that wants to destabilize Somaliland.
Which brings us to the third important event that took place in Dubai, and that is President Ahmed Silanyo’s meeting with Suleiman Ise Ahmed (Xaglatoosiye), the head of the SSC. Many commentators have focused on the sidelining of Xaglatoosiye by the Khatumo group as a reason for his overture to Somaliland. That may be so, but another equally important reason could be that Xaglatoosiye correctly read the implications of the talks between Somaliland and Somalia, as meaning that the strategy of the SSC and Khatumo of claiming to be fighting for the unionist cause and thereby expect help from the TFG is no longer viable (if ever it was) because the agreements between Somaliland and Somalia bans both sides from doing anything that could harm the security of the other. Therefore, it only made sense for him to reconcile with Somaliland. In other words, Somaliland’s talks with the TFG may have already paid dividends in Buhoodle.
All in all, it was a busy and fruitful visit to Dubai for Somaliland’s president, and the fact that former president Dahir Rayale Kahin was part of the delegation showed Somaliland’s democracy in action, and sent the right message, that when it comes to the national interests, Somaliland’s leaders are willing to put partisanship aside and work together.
At this point, we can surely say about the performance of Somaliland’s government with regard to the talks with Somalia, so far so good. But as the dialogue continues, it is bound to move on to thorny and more complicated issues. It is here where we have serious concerns, some of which we had expressed in previous editorials. Our concern is this: we still don’t see the technical team of experts on international law and other relevant matters that would help Somaliland’s government safeguard its interests and achieve its goals. May be the government is consulting with such experts behind the scene but until we see evidence that it is doing so, we will continue to harp on this, for indeed, it is worrisome to see politicians sign agreements whose full technical implications they may not know. Our fear is about the long-run and the coming more difficult phases of the talks. For now though, and based on what is publicly known about the agreements reached with Somalia, we say, again, so far so good.
- Somaliland Times ''Editorial''