The United States will continue supporting growth in Somaliland as part of its initiative to work closely with countries in the Horn of Africa.
A delegation from the United States led by Ambassador Donald Yamamoto visited Somaliland president Muse Bihi on Thursday in Hargeisa where key among the discussions was the socio-economic growth of Somaliland and peace initiatives in the region., and the continued co-operation between Somaliland and the United States of America in terms of development, trade and good governance.
President Bihi and the US delegation discussed areas of mutual interest, including security and democracy in the region “We look forward to working even more closely with the United States and other international partners,” Bihi said.
The meeting is seen as another milestone in Somaliland’s quest for international recognition. Since 1991, Somaliland has made steady democratic gains and is attracting foreign investment, given its strategic location along the Gulf of Aden. Its democratic stability and its economic interest allow for some optimism regarding a potential international recognition of Somaliland’s sovereignty.
While the international community has widely acknowledged its separation from Somalia, no State has yet formally recognised Somaliland as a State. The United States has been piling pressure on the African Union to deliberate on Somaliland’s case for sovereignty.
A previous statement from the US department of state said: “While we continue to engage with the Somaliland administration, we do believe that the African Union is the most appropriate forum to address the question of recognition of Somaliland as an independent state.
We understand that Somaliland is pursuing bilateral dialogue with the African Union and its member-states in this regard.” The US delegation to Bihi’s office also included the head of the Trade and Economy Office, Shella A. Billas and USAID regional director are in Somaliland as part of a new initiative from Washington DC to engage all the regional countries in the Horn of Africa.
This is the first official United States delegation visit to Somaliland, since Under-Secretary for Africa, Jendayi Frazer during the Rayaale administration. The meeting was also attended by the Somaliland Foreign minister, Prof. Yasin Haji Mohamud Hir “Faraton”, and the Finance and Investment, Sa’ad Ali Shire. Somaliland continues to attract interest from the West.
Recently, President Bihi held talks with UK Ambassador David Concar as well as ambassadors and representatives of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, the UK and the European Union.
By Odindo Ayieko