Somali PM and Somaliland President Speak by Phone Edging Closer to Resume Talks

HARGEISA (Somaliguardian) – Somalia and Somaliland governments are expected to resume talks after more than 3 years since the two sides came together on the negotiating table, officials have confirmed.

Officials at the Somaliland Presidency, opposition members and MPs have confirmed to Somaliguardian that President Mouse Bihi Abdi and the Prime Minister of Somalia Hassan Ali Khaire spoke by phone on Saturday, to discuss the resumption of talks between the two governments.

An official at the Presidency of Somaliland speaking to Somaliguardian on the condition of anonymity for fear of being identified said that the Ethiopian PM had earlier encouraged his Somali counterpart to resume talks with Somaliland and architect best avenues possible in which these talks could prove successful unlike preceding sessions.

He added that the plan unfolded after the visit of Somali PM to Ethiopia on mid March and that the Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed has encouraged both President Bihi and Prime Minister Khaire to speak by phone to collectively decide on when and how talks could be restarted.

Before making a telephone conversation with Khaire, President Bihi engaged in consultations with the speaker of the House of Elders Saleban Mohamoud Adan and Leaders of Opposition parties to inform them about Ethiopia pushed resumption of talks. None of the top ranking officials posed questions, but rather urged President Bihi to proceed with paving the way for the talks.

Apart from the resumption of talks, Khaire and Bihi also discussed giving Somaliland its share of medical equipment, funding package and other resources designed to be used for the combat toward curbing the spread of COVID19 pandemic in Somalia.

Moreover, some Politicians wielding influence in Somaliland’s politics believe that such talks will not produce results serving the interest of the Somaliland public as long as Somali government officials adhere to the viewpoint of “United Somalia”.

“I am astonished by the issue of Somaliland and Somalia talks! It’s not time for talks to be resumed here in Somaliland due to the current alarming situation and Political problems we are facing. I don’t think Farmajo and Khaire whose regional administrations are not still at their hands will leave Somaliland to face its future with self-determination; therefore, its better that we don’t waste our time, there’s no Somaliland citizen who has such a hope in mind.”

Somaliland’s local papers have recently been writing about the resumption of talks and the telephone conversation between Khaire and Bihi as well as a host of other related issues. Sultan Mohamed Abdikadir, the leader of Somaliland’s traditional elders joined the headlines after calling for immediate resumption of talks with Somalia; nonetheless, authorities have deemed the sentiments as part of conspiracies bolstered from Villa Somalia, vowing to take action.

To many, what goes without saying, however, is that the Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed is paying tremendous efforts in bringing leaders of Somalia and Somaliland together as part of his strategy toward one big Horn of African government led by Ethiopia.

Officials who spoke to Somaliguardian said it’s expected that the talks will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has currently ceased movements of Somali politicians to neighboring countries.

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed had earlier tried to influence Somaliland President Mouse Bihi on accepting a joint state visit by him and the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo –an effort later countered by Bihi after local outrage.

It’s unclear whether the renewed efforts by Abiy Ahmed will prove more productive than his previous approaches to mediate talks that could end a long-time dispute between Somaliland and Somalia.

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