By Imran MojibJune 29, 2012
DUBAI: The second day of the UAE Counter Piracy conference in Dubai witnessed a historic development as the presidents of Somalia and Somaliland agreed to start a dialogue under an agreed framework that is expected to positively affect the fight against maritime piracy.
President of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and President of the Republic of Somaliland Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo later released a joint statement in the presence of UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash.
Presidents of the two nations met for the first time during the past 21 years and agreed to continue the dialogue to clarify the relationship between the two sides.
Commenting on the development, Silanyo expressed confidence that the co-operation would contribute positively to the fight against maritime piracy as well as terrorism, and will bring peace to the region.
He also expressed the hope that this step would lead to formal acceptation of Somaliland as an independent nation by Somalia, as well as by the international community.
“We have been fighting against terrorism and maritime piracy along with the international community. Hope we will get recognition by them,” he added.
Foreign Minister of Somaliland Mohammed Omar said the meeting of the presidents of the two nations — the first since 1991 — was a positive sign.
He thanked the UAE government for hosting this meeting and expressed hope for greater co-operation between the two countries in the fight against maritime piracy, terrorism, besides regional security issues.
He clarified that the issue of reunification of the two countries would never be part of the dialogue, as Somaliland was an independent nation for more than two decades.
“I take it as a positive gesture from Somalia. They have not recognised us as an independent nation so far. Since they have agreed to start a dialogue with us, it shows that they are ready to listen to us,” he said.
Ambassador of Somalia to the UAE Abdulkadir Sheikhey Al Hatimi also termed it a historic meeting and said that it is bound to bring positive changes.
“The two presidents met each other face-to-face and shook hands, while agreeing to start a dialogue.
“It is a historic development in our relations,” he added.