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Canada Responds to Somaliland’s Request for Direct Aid and Recognition

OTTAWA (SD) – Somaliland reportedly asked Canada for direct aid and recognition, according to the Globe and Mail of Toronto.

“The self-declared state, which split from Somalia 30 years ago, sent its Foreign Minister, Essa Kayd, to Washington, London and Ottawa recently as part of a campaign to refashion its external relationships. A U.S. congressional staff delegation later visited Somaliland.” reported the Globe and Mail.

The Globe and Mail reported that Somaliland is in the smack middle of strategic competition between China and the US in the Horn of Africa, with a key location and access to the Red Sea.

“Somaliland is caught up in the competition for superpower influence among states in the Horn of Africa, which lies on the western side of the strategically important Red Sea. About 10 per cent of global trade passes through the Red Sea and, in combination with the Suez Canal, offers both commercial and military shipping operators the shortest route between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.” reported the Globe and Mail.

The Globe and Mail reports that a delegation from Somaliland recently visited Ottawa, seeking Canada’s immediate recognition and direct assistance.

“Mr. Kayd, 61, who also holds Canadian and U.S. citizenship, met with officials at Canada’s Department of Global Affairs in December. He’s asking countries to provide aid directly to Somaliland instead of giving it through Somalia. He also hopes for recognition as a separate country, a measure that Canada would not likely take unless it was part of a concerted effort by Western allies.” reported the Globe and Mail.

Somaliland’s foreign minister, Esse Kayd, told the Globe and Mail that 98% of foreign aid goes directly to Mogadishu, with Hargeisa receiving only 2%.

“Ninety-eight per cent of it is going to Somalia and perhaps 2 per cent is reaching Somaliland,” he said, accusing other players such as militant Islamist group al-Shabaab of taking a share of the aid.”

Canadian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Genevieve Tremblay told the Globe and Mail that Canada does not provide aid directly to Somalia, but through international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“Canada gave $37-million in aid to Somalia in 2019-20, the most recent full year for which figures are available. Global Affairs spokeswoman Geneviève Tremblay said Canada does not send aid directly to Somalia but instead works through international agencies and non-government organizations such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross. She said Canada supports international assistance projects “that have activities throughout the different regions of Somalia, including Somaliland.”

Responding to Somaliland’s request for assistance, Genevieve Tremblay said Canada was supporting international aid for both Somalia and Somaliland.

When Asked whether Canada would recognize Somaliland, the Canadian Foreign Ministry declined to comment, saying it had bilateral ties with Somalia and the Somaliland.

“Canada enjoys a bilateral relationship with Somalia, which includes Somaliland. Canada encourages the federal government of Somalia and regional government of Somaliland to reach a peaceful agreement on their future relationship,” Ms. Tremblay said.

Somaliland, which gained independence from Britain in 1960, withdrew from a union with Somalia in 1991, since enjoying relative peace and democratization.

Somaliland has faced setbacks in recent years from successive Kulmiye governments, accused of human rights abuses including arresting journalist that worked for a Canadian owned Media House Hadhwanaag News and widespread corruption.

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