The government of the Republic of Somaliland [not yet recognized] has officially responded to statements made by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last week during a joint press conference with Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who was in the country on a state visit.
During the press conference, Desalegn said, “Ethiopia will no longer meet with regions of Somalia without the consent of Somalia’s Federal government […] the international community must respect Somalia’s sovereignty and stop dealing without the federal government’s consent”.
Somaliland’s Interior Minister, Yasin Haji Mohamoud Hiir Faratoon, responded to a question on Desalegn’s comments in an interview with Geeska Afrika, stating that “it doesn’t concern Somaliland because Somaliland is not part of Somalia”.
“As long as he didn’t mention ‘Somaliland’, that is all that matters,” Faratoon added.
Farmaajo traveled to Ethiopia last week to rally regional support against the growing friendship between Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates.
Although Somalia and Ethiopia have a rocky relationship, both countries have now found common ground in their battle against UAE’s activities in the regions.
Regional analysts say Ethiopia sees the UAE’s current influence in Somaliland as a threat to their own quest to ‘dominate’ the Horn of Africa.
Somalia, on the other hand, still believes that Somaliland is part of Somalia proper and is upset that the UAE engaged with the Somalialand government directly by purposely ignoring Somalia’s claims.
Many Somalilanders, however, took PM Desalegn’s comments as subliminal jab directed towards Somaliland – UAE relations. Somaliland and Ethiopia have been close for the past 26 years, which makes Desalegn’s comments come as a surprise to many.
Adan’s comment is the first official response from a Somalialnd government official on the PM’s recent comments.