Dr. Edna Adan Ismail speaks in the European Parliament

By the invitation of the Catalan MEP, Carles Puigdemont the “Mother of Somaliland”, Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, who is at present the president of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples(UNPO)  visited Brussels and participated on the international conference titeled: “ Africa 21st Century: Old and new borders, federalism and self-determination”.

Ms Edna Adan Ismail who brought the greetings of the people of Somaliland to the Europeans in her speech explained the origin of Somaliland from 1884 when full independence and sovereignty was granted by the Queen of England, Queen Victoria. The country that time was a British protectorate until 26 June 1960 when British Somaliland declared its independence as the State of Somaliland. She also explained why the union with Somalia hasn’t worked as the language, the tradition and also the culture were different. When people of Somaliland asked for separation that ended into a ten years civil war from 1982 to 1991.

From the massacre against the Somaliland people, many of them flew to Ethiopia and Yemen looking for safe haven. More than one hundred mass graves were unidentified by the UN many of the holding the body of children. Unfortunately human rights organizations remained silent.

Somaliland separated from Somalia but because the country was not recognized it was not provided aid the country had to rely on itself. But first of all peace and stability had to be secured.  It was a great success as Somaliland has been peaceful for 32 years. Somaliland has its constitution which has been approved by 95% of the people of the country. The Constitution of Somaliland defines the political system; the Republic of Somaliland is a unitary state and presidential republic, based on peace, co-operation, democracy and a multi-party system.

Somaliland now has its own currency and passport and now many foreigners are living in the country and hundreds of thousand people returned back home from the diaspora. The country increasingly attracts the foreign investors who wish to do business there.  In May 2016, DP World signed a US$442 million agreement with the government of Somaliland to operate a regional trade and logistics hub at the Port of Berbera. The project, which will be phased in, will also involve the setting up of a free zone.

Although Somaliland is not recognized officially it hosts many UN agencies and many NGOs have offices in the country and the number of countries who have trade offices in Somaliland is growing.

Dr. Edna Adan Ismail expressed her hope that the recognition of the much deserved sovereignty of Somaliland will become a reality soon.

Proving the even closer connection between Somaliland and the European Union, Somaliland has opened its permanent EU representation in Brussels. Ambassador Kaysar Maxamed the head of the representation office also participated on the conference. He said that although Somaliland arguably has the best case for recognition, Somaliland remains entirely unrecognised. In his position he will do everything using his good office for Somaliland’s recognition and its diplomacy by meetings with executive members of the European Union and by organising conferences in the EU institutions.

The ambassador’s main aim is to build new partnership with the EU member countries which will enable European financial institutions to successfully provide relevant financing to local small and medium sized enterprises in Somaliland while further supporting the investment climate.

Endre Barcs