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September 21, 2011

Somaliland: A Reliable Partner in Combating Piracy

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 6:43 pm
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Somaliland: A Reliable Partner in Combating Piracy

Somaliland Coast guards


by Morgan Roach

Piracy off the Horn of Africa increases every year due to constant instability in the region. In 2008, 111 vessels were attacked. Since the beginning of 2011, there have already been 188 attacks. Every year worldwide piracy costs the shipping industry billions of dollars in rerouting, ransoms, and many other related expenses. These costs are then passed on to the consumer.

To curb piracy, the international community is working with regional partners to stabilize the region. Somalia’s U.N.-appointed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has proven largely incapable of establishing law and order outside of parts of the capital city of Mogadishu. Constraining piracy is well beyond the limited capabilities of the TFG. By contrast, the government of Somaliland, the autonomous state in northern Somalia, is a more promising partner even though it is not recognized by the U.N.

Somaliland is a unique region of stability in Somalia. The state re-declared its independence in 1991 (it was briefly independent in 1960) and formed a government based on representative democracy. In 2001, Somaliland reaffirmed its independence through a constitutional referendum. For the most part, the region has been spared the conflict and instability that has afflicted the rest of Somalia and contributed to the lawlessness that allows piracy to prosper.

Piracy and terrorism threaten Somaliland’s relatively peaceful society. Somaliland has taken an active role in working with the international community not only to protect its citizens but also to increase its presence on the world stage. Earlier this month, Somaliland’s anti-piracy committee met for the first time to assess appropriate measures for government action. The purpose of the committee is to examine the ways in which Somaliland can work at an international level to counter piracy.

In the past few years, Somaliland has increased its cooperation with regional neighbors including Puntland (another semi-autonomous region in Somalia) and the TFG. Somaliland’s adherence to the Djibouti Code of Conduct led to the creation of the Kampala Process under which anti-piracy laws (including those related to prisoner transfers) were drafted. In November 2010, Somaliland built a maximum-security prison (with the help of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime) to relieve the burden of regional partners lacking the capacity and/or will to incarcerate pirates. As of last March, there are approximately 350 suspected and convicted pirates being held in Somaliland and Puntland.

Somaliland’s lack of international recognition poses major challenges to its involvement in combating piracy. International recognition could help increase foreign direct investment and improve economic development. As piracy becomes more frequent, more ransoms are paid and pirates become wealthier. Pirates then invest this money into sophisticated fortification for operating bases, out-resourcing local authorities. With a stable economy, Somaliland would be able to devote more resources to combating piracy.

At a public event last week at the International Republican Institute, Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the U.N. arms embargo on the region has severely affected Somaliland’s ability to modernize its counter-piracy operations and combat terrorism.

Somaliland has the potential to be a major asset to the international community in combating piracy. In seeking international recognition, the government wants to be included in the U.N. Security Council’s reports on Somalia and is working towards more involvement in international forums. With so few willing and able governments in the region, Somaliland should be encouraged in these efforts.

Source:Heritage.org

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September 17, 2011

Photos: Somaliland foreign Minister meets with 3 US congressmen


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Photos: Somaliland foreign Minister meets with 3 US congressmen

Washington DC– Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar while on US official visit to Washington meets with Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Chris Smith and Congressman Keith Ellison.

Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar with Congressman Keith Ellison

Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar with Congressman Donald Payne

Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar with Congressman Chris Smith

September 15, 2011

Video: Somaliland Foreign Minister Speech at IRI


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Somaliland Foreign Minister Discusses Country’s Successes at IRI

VIDEO: Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar Speech at IRI

Washington, DC – Crisis in the Horn of Africa: A Somaliland Perspective was the topic of an event featuring Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The event hosted by IRI was moderated by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.

In his remarks, Dr. Omar highlighted Somaliland’s successes in holding democratic elections and conducting a peaceful transition of power from one political party to another, the country’s support in the fight against terrorism and piracy, and its growing economy with a private sector as the country’s main employer.

Although lacking international recognition, Somaliland has avoided the chaos characteristic of south-central Somalia.  Dr. Omar credits Somaliland’s success and stability to good governance.  Even as the Horn of Africa faces the worst famine in 60 years Somaliland has been able to stave off famine conditions despite widespread drought.  However, Dr. Omar warned increased foreign assistance was required to ensure that catastrophe in Somaliland is avoided.

Dr. Omar also discussed Somaliland’s efforts to gain international recognition, drawing attention to the fact that South Sudan was recently recognized as an independent state and the two country’s situations are not that different.  Somaliland gave unity a chance for 30 years before declaring independence in 1991 from greater Somalia. While he understands the international community’s focus on Somalia, he warns that it should not be used as a reason to ignore Somaliland and that its successes – successes of peace, stability and democracy – cannot be sustained without international support.

Dr. Omar assumed the position of Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in November 2010.  Prior to his service as Foreign Affairs Minister, he handled foreign relations for Somaliland’s Peace, Unity and Development Party.  A self-proclaimed but internationally unrecognized independent state, Somaliland is located in the northernmost third of Somalia and enjoys a level of governance in stark contrast to that provided by the Somali central government.

Source: International Republican Institute (IRI)

September 5, 2011

Video:Mo Farah Wins Men’s 5000m at World Athletics Championships Daegu 2011


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Daegu, Korea – With one year to go to the Olympic Games in London Mo Farah found himself on top of the world. One week after being narrowly beaten in the 10,000m final the runner from Great Britain took the 5000m World Championships gold, clocking 13:23.36. This time Farah could hold off the challenge from behind him in the final straight.

VIDEO

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