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U.S. concerned Instability and Democratic Backsliding in Somaliland

Washington March 31, 2023 (SD) – The U.S. Department of State has expressed concern over the ongoing fighting in the city of Las Anod and called for an end to the violence that has resulted in civilian casualties and human rights abuses.

“The United States is increasingly concerned by the continuing violence in Lascanood and joins other international partners and neighbors in calling for de-escalation, adherence to the agreed ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access, and resumption of constructive dialogue towards peaceful resolution. Continued violence will increase the potential for extremist groups to sow broader instability and further exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis.” said the statement.

In addition, the US has called on Somaliland to withdraw its troops from Las Anod in order to prevent further escalation of the conflict and to restore peace to the region.

“We call on Somaliland to pull back its security forces as a demonstration of its commitment to these principles. We call on the militias in Lascanood to refrain from any offensive actions against Somaliland forces. We support the Federal Government of Somalia’s constructive engagement and deployment of a clan elders’ delegation and welcome Somaliland President Bihi’s commitment to meet with the delegation in Hargeisa.” the U.S. said.

Adding “We also note with concern that Somaliland’s presidential elections have been delayed since November 2022, well beyond the timing set forth in Somaliland’s constitution. We call on the Somaliland authorities to set a clear timeline and complete the elections as soon as possible. The United States stands ready to use authorities under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to restrict the issuance of visas to current or former Somali officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia, including in Somaliland.”

On March 29, the US Ambassador to Somalia, Larry André, met with the President of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, and urged him to work with his forces and those of the SSC region to end the conflict in Las Anod.

“Somaliland President Bihi has the power to create distance between forces in Lascanood & announce a roadmap for future elections. During a frank conversation with him this afternoon, I encouraged him to do both. – Ambassador André” Tweeted the US Ambassador.

The intense fighting between Somaliland forces and those of the SSC region has been ongoing in Las Anod since December.

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