10 September, 2012

UK Fully supports Somaliland/Somalia Dialogue

UK Fully supports Somaliland/Somalia Dialogue

Amb Matt BaughThe United Kingdom fully respects wishes of other countries citizens thus continued support to dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia.

The British Ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland informed this during an interview with the Hornnewspaper in which he also revealed that his government hosted the countries first direct talks in at the Chevening House on the behest of both Hargeisa and Mogadishu

In the interview that dwelt more on status in Mogadishu Ambassador Matt Baugh informed that always thought that the 20 August date of ending the TFG would be an ambitious and challenging deadline to meet.

Below are the full verbatim excerpts of the interview

Q. The transition period ended on 20th this month, who is in charge on Somalia now?

A. the UK and our international partners have been united in saying that the transition must end. We always knew that 20 August would be an ambitious and challenging deadline to meet, not least given the security constraints, the fact this was the first time in 20 years a government had been appointed by Somalis inside Somalia, and the fact that Ramadan and Eid coincided with the end of the process. We remain determined that the transition should be completed in the current period, and are supporting the players in achieving that. We have also said we will take action against anyone who deliberately and unnecessarily delays or obstructs the process.

Nevertheless, it must be recognised that already a huge amount of progress has been achieved. Somalia has a new provisional Constitution. It has appointed most members of a new Parliament. Elections for the new Parliamentary Speaker have taken place. In addition, the election for a new President has been announced for 10 September. We strongly welcome this progress and urge Somalia's leaders to complete the process, so that Somalia's new government can focus on its priorities for delivering security and services to its people.

Q. Upon the expiration of the Transitional, period under what mandate do President Sheikh Sharif and Special representative operate and how do they relate?

In addition, does the international community accord Sheikh Sharif support equal to or different from other presidential contenders?

A. The important point on which to focus now is that great progress has been made, as mentioned above, and the election for a new President has been announced for 10 September. We welcome the announcement of this election. Nevertheless, we are impartial about who wins it, and named as President – that is for Somalis to decide, not for us.

Q. How has international community responded to the warning by Sheikh Sharif that if warlords are denied seats in the new parliament civil war will resurface in Somalia?

A. There has been a well-defined system in place for appointing and vetting the new members of Parliament through the Technical Selection Committee (TSC). We applaud their work. However, we recognize that there are a handful of cases where the National Constituent Assembly and TSC could not reach agreement. Now that the TSC's work has finished, the remaining decisions on the selection of MPs are ultimately a political decision to be taken by the signatories to Somalia's Roadmap, in consultation with Somalia's traditional elders who represent the people. We urge them to work on this in the spirit of national interest.

4. How do you perceive the resumption of talks with Somalia after President Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo castigated the Somalia draft constitution that lays claim territories that constitute the republic of Somaliland?

A. Our policy has long been that the Somali people themselves should determine their future relationship and that their neighbours and other African countries should take the lead in recognizing any new arrangements. The UK welcomed the international community's commitment at the London Conference on Somalia to support any dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG (or its replacement) may agree to establish in order to clarify their future relations. Since the London Conference, both the TFG and Somaliland authorities have requested UK assistance to facilitate a meeting. In response to this request from both parties, we hosted a preliminary meeting in the UK on 20 and 21 June, which we jointly hosted with the EU and Norway. In the subsequent Chevening House Declaration, both parties committed themselves to further talks. It is for the parties themselves to decide how best to follow this up.

Source: Hornnewpaper.com weekly online edition of the Hornnewspaper published weekly by the Geeska Afrika Media Group in Hargeisa Somaliland

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