The speech Dr. Essa Kayd Mohamud: Leading the Way in Somaliland’s Diplomatic Triumphs in the Horn of Africa”

Hon. Dr. Essa Kayd Mohamud

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Republic of Somaliland

Date: 20th February 2024

Venue: Somaliland Diplomatic Mission, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaDistinguished members of the Fourth Estate, Ladies and Gentlemen,Firstly, let me extend my very warm salutations to you all and thank you for accepting and honoring my invitation to this Press conference.

I welcome you all to the Premise of the Chancery of the Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of Somaliland in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

My delegation and I have been in this beautiful city of Addis Ababa (The New Flower) and the home and Headquarters of the African Union and indeed Africa’s Capital City for the past one week. Whilst we are frequent visitors to Addis Ababa and especially during theAfrican Union Summit, and even though Addis Ababa and the rest ofEthiopia is our home away from home, our presence this time round has been quite symbolic and profound. Our presence is hallmarked and punctuated against the backdrop of key developments this time including positive and some not positive. For instance, our raising of our stakes as a nation state culminating in our signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with our sister nation and friend Ethiopia as you all know has been a captivating story making headlines in news outlets across the globe.

But more importantly, this critical action has attracted no small amounts of both admiration and critique from friends and foe in equal measure. I wish to therefore take a few moments to provide our perspective as the Government and people of Somaliland and to clarify the miss-information and miss-understanding that have been created, publicized either erroneously or purposefully by those seeking to undermine it not on the basis of law and legitimacy, but because of envy and fallacious and frivolous claims and misrepresentations. Allow me to illuminate and provide factual and correct information on my country and her capacity to enter into such agreements under international law. The Republic of Somaliland exists and is a reality that the African Union and the international community cannot afford to deny or ignore. Since withdrawing from the failed union with Somalia on 18th May 1991, through a transparent and consensus based national conference, we have built a stable, peaceful, secure and democratic nation state with functioninginstitutions largely and mostly on our own. During this three decades or so period and despite our status of our yet to be realized full political and diplomatic dejure recognition, and within ourconstraining defacto status, we have interacted and been dealt with as a nation state including entering into major bilateral investment agreements with other countries.

As you may be aware, Somaliland meets and satisfies all the requirements for statehood under international law including the Montivedio Convention among others. Our bilateral investments and other agreements including within the context of the Ethio-Somaliland MoU are consistent with international law and the conduct of business between nation states. It is within this premise that we entered into the multi-million dollar investment project with the UAE’s Dubai Ports World (DP -World) for the expansion and modernization of the Berbera Port facilities and the Berbera Corridor connecting Ethiopia and Somaliland and to other landlockedcountries in the greater Horn of Africa.

Our status is not only backed by international law, but by practice andprecedence. This was clearly stated by the AU Commission fact-finding mission who clearly and unequivocally acknowledged Somaliland’s qualification for independent nation statehood status and the fact that our claim to statehood does not in any way infringe or contrast the African Union’s Constitutive Act. Our ability to enter into the MOU with Ethiopia is perfectly within this legitimate and legal discourse. Our chequered history with Somalia is in the past. It is therefore a fallacy and misnomer for Somalia’s leaders to dispute and bring into contestation our bilateral cooperation Agreements with Ethiopia. And sadly conduct these contestations in the mostpedestrian manner and against established norms of diplomatic practice. Our most sad and chequered history with Somalia under the ill-fated and failed union is characterized by deceit, marginalization, exclusion and under-investment from the onset and subsequently by torture, enforced disappearances, murder and assassination of our people whose climax was ground shillings and aerial bombardment of our cities and genocide against our people which is all well documented.

We cannot be foolish as a people to seek reunion with Somalia against this background. The young generations of Somaliland-landers have known no Somalia map, currency, passport, political or education system. Our unequivocal and undisputed desire and vision is the attainment of our recognition. That is our goal and the aspiration of our people. We are making every effort on that path. We remain relentless in this regard.

To imagine we can even contemplate to be part of a failed and rogue state Called Somalia is a fallacy and overstretched imagination.Besides, apart from our dark history with Somalia, the very essence and purpose for which we joined Somalia was the vision of greater Somalia whose overarching goal was to bring all Somali speaking people’s in the greater horn of Africa to be one country. That vision and aspiration is not only not tenable and dead in the waters, but certainly not in the least attractive to our people.

Somalia is a failed nation in tartars. It is a client state that survives as an ongoing concern purely on the basis of funding and military support of foreign troops whose withdrawal will lead to the immediate and imminent crumbling and collapse of the Mogadishu administration. It is disheartening to note that such a state, whose leaders including its president are guarded by foreign troops, has the audacity to complain, display contemptuous conduct devoid of diplomatic practice and cause ugly altercations with AU and host country security and protocol teams.

This is display of alien and undiplomatic demeanor and breach of alldiplomatic protocols and civility, is disturbing and of great concern. We are disgusted and abhorred by this behavior by Somalia leader Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud since arrival and hateful departure from Addis Ababa for the AU Summit.

We call out and condemn this unpalatable, rogue and savage behavior in the strongest terms possible. It may be important to point out this Somalia President has consistently in his opposition to the EthioSomaliland MoU become a bedfellow and a mouthpiece for the Al Shabab terror group in Somalia, speaking about how the MoU has enabled these terrorist group to recruit men in their numbers.

What he doesn’t tell the world is his calls and that of his fellow leaders including his PM and cabinet members for Jihad against Somaliland and Ethiopia. These rhetoric has unfortunately and tragically led to targeting of Somaliland citizens who are currently in Somalia’s Capital City of Mogadishu. The brutal assassination of a young, brilliant chevening fellow working with the Mogadishu administration as an aviation navigation engineer is the result of Somalia leaders irresponsible hate narrative against

Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Following this tragic incident, we as Somaliland government send out an emergency alert and a call to Somalilanders to leave Somalia, especially its capital Mogadishu to avert perpetrated hate killings and persecution of Somaliland citizens in Somalia In conclusion, I would like to inform our citizens that during our stay in Addis Ababa, as we have always done over the years, met with various delegations to discuss and engage on our prime national agenda which isSomaliland’s recognition. I must say, the feedback has been quite positive and encouraging. We have met many delegations at the various levels to reiterate our case and desire for international recognition. The number of positive responses and support for our cause is phenomenal. Meanwhile, we as a delegation have been able to explain very succinctly our perspective as Somaliland regarding the MoU we signed with Ethiopia and how it is not only lawful, legal and legitimate under international law and statues but how transformative it is for Somaliland and Ethiopia but also for the region both in terms of the economy, trade and security spheres. As far as Somaliland government is concerned, the MoU is beneficialbeyond imagination and therefore we are on course without any wavering.

We remain seized and are on track in preparation for implementation of the MoU. To this end, my President has embarked on a number ofmeasures including the appointment of the technical team, team ofinternational legal experts and a high level advisory group to advise and guide this process