Washington (SD) – Stephen M Schwartz, a US diplomat, called on the African Union to address the issue of the independence of the Republic of Somaliland, noting that the self declared country made significant strides in terms of security and democracy during its three decades of independence from Somalia.
Stephen M Schwartz, the US Ambassador to Somalia from 2016 to 2017, wrote a lengthy report on Somaliland, saying that Somaliland had made progress in terms of security and democracy, and that it had held highly contested free and fair elections.
The diplomat said the African Union sent a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Somaliland in 2005 and its report acknowledged the right to self-determination in the Republic of Somaliland, also urging the African Union to intervene in the Somaliland issue and send a fact-finding mission to re-evaluate the situation in Somaliland.
“The African Union took up the issue in 2005 by sending a fact-finding mission to Somaliland. The official summary of its findings is very favorable towards Somaliland’s claims, asserting, “Somaliland’s search for recognition [is] historically unique and self-justified in African political history,” and it urges the AU to take up the issue with the governments in Mogadishu and Hargeisa without delay. The African Union did not act on that report and has played little role since then. Now, 16 years later, it is the time for the African Union to act.” Stephen M Schwartz wrote.
He also urged the African Union to facilitate talks between Somaliland and Somalia, and to ensure that the talks are fruitful.
“The African Union has the mandate to mediate peace and make determinations on sovereignty. It can compel Somalia to negotiate or decide itself whether to accept Somaliland’s demand for its sovereignty to be restored. Persuading African governments and the AU to take on this responsibility should be a focus of U.S. diplomacy.” Amb Stephen M Schwartz wrote
Mr. Stephen Schwartz called on the United States to encourage African and other countries to address the issue of Somaliland’s independence.
“The United States should work with African and non-African states to persuade the African Union to lead the process to resolve Somaliland’s status. The African Union has the mandate and legitimacy to address the issue and to act authoritatively in the eyes of Africans and the international community.” Amb Stephen M Schwartz wrote.
He urged the US Secretary of State to write a letter similar to the one in which the United States congratulated the Republic of Somaliland in 1960 on its independence from Britain.
“This is a noteworthy milestone in your history, and it is with pleasure that I send my warmest regards on this happy occasion.” Should Somalia fail to negotiate in good faith to resolve Somaliland’s status, Secretary of State Tony Blinken should consider Josh Meservey’s proposal and write a similar letter to the authorities in Hargeisa.” Amb Stephen M Schwartz wrote.
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