Hargeis(Horn)-Somaliland just celebrated 26 years as an independent nation, with its proud people commemorating the birth of a country that, despite 13 years of democracy, peaceful shift of power, stability and a relatively high degree of respect for human rights, lacks global recognition.
This was stated by Swedish Member of Parliament Markus Wiechel, during a question and answer session with the government at the legislator in Stockholm on Aug 31, 2017I.
The query by MP Markus Wiechel of SD party as pertains the Swedish government’s position on recognition of somalilamd as a sovereign nation was directed to and responded by the country’s foreign Margot Wallström.
In his introduction the MP said “Somaliland (formerly British Somaliland), by definition, is an autonomous and self-governing part of northern Somalia. In other words, it is purely geographically a residue from colonial times, when British and Italian Somaliland were assembled by Europeans. Contrary to other parts of Somalia, Somaliland works relatively well, and the continued development is progressing sustainably. Somaliland, unlike its neighbors, has free democratic elections and well-functioning institutions, and today they offer free schooling for all children and young people. They have their own institutions, diplomatic relations, ministers, parliamentarians and their own president. They have their own currency, own flag, own passport, own national anthem and its own capital. That the African Union, which largely consists of non-democracies, does not recognize the sovereignty of the country is understandable. That Sweden and other open countries do not, however, is a mystery to me.”
Therefore With reference to the above, the Foreign Minister Margot Wallström should be kind enough to answer the following questions:
Why has not Sweden become the first country in the world recognized Somaliland as an independent nation thus demonstrated support for their, Somalilanders, amazing achievements?
What is required for the government to take the step to recognize the nation as an independent nation in the future? And
- What does the Swedish government specifically do to support Somaliland and their people to achieve further success?
Concluded the MP a known campaigner of Somaliland recognition
In response the foreign minister Margot Wallström while addressing parliament’s president as per protocols informed that as pertains the above queries by the MP, the position of the government of Sweden is
Mr President! Markus Wiechel has asked me:
Why has not Sweden as the first country in the world recognized Somaliland as an independent nation and demonstrated their support for their amazing successes?
What is required for the government to take the step of recognizing the nation as an independent nation in the future?
What does the Swedish government specifically do to support Somaliland and their people to achieve further success?
Sweden has long been supporting the peace and state-building process in Somalia. For continued success in Somalia’s development, the Government considers that national reconciliation is a decisive factor. Through this assistance, Swedish assistance is provided for support for several dialogue and mediation efforts in Somalia. This includes support for dialogue between the federal government and Somaliland.
The Swedish government is of the opinion that recognition of Somaliland as an independent state would not benefit the continued peace process in Somalia. It could also adversely affect development in the region. The government therefore sees no reason to reconsider its attitude on this issue. It can also be noted that no other country recognized Somaliland as an independent state.
As far as Markus Wiechel’s final question is concerned, Sweden can provide support to a number of major nationwide, donor-friendly funds and programs that also come to Somaliland. In addition, Sweden has supported the democratic development of Somaliland through support for several of the elections carried out in Somaliland, as well as the preparations for the elections that were due in 2015.
In response Markus Wiechel gave the following argument before posing the one million dollar question
Last but not least: Sweden has in recent years recognized states on much more doubtful grounds than has been said by the Foreign Minister. The government’s position basically indicates an inconsistent action that is all the more sad at a time when we have the chance to influence other countries within the United Nations.
I do not want to believe there are other reasons for acknowledging Palestine, for example, but the action unfortunately indicates that this is the case.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström
Mr President! It is true that the development in Somaliland has historically been more successful than the development in Somalia. Somaliland has not been affected by civil war, and the state institutions have therefore not been subjected to the same collapse as in most of the southern parts of Somalia. As a result, Somaliland has formed, and still largely represents, a positive example for the rest of Somalia.
There are both pros and cons of joining a larger federation. Doing so can have both economic and security benefits. The hope is that the positive development in Somalia in the long term may also benefit Somaliland’s development, but this presupposes that Somaliland does not stand outside the process. It can, of course, also lead to the fact that there are battles about boundaries and anything else that may come from it.
In this context, it is positive that representatives of clans with primary affiliation in Somaliland participated in the Somali election and have chosen Somaliland’s representatives to the federal government and to parliament.
We judge by the government that recognition of Somaliland would not benefit the Somali peace process, and we see no need to reconsider our attitude to the matter. I have received this question and interpellations on this topic before.
Additionally, Somaliland may not have been recognized by any other European state, nor by the African Union or its members. It is largely a non-issue that is not really driven properly, and perhaps there is a development towards wanting to become an independent state to begin. But at the moment, we mean that it is important to look at all of Somalia and recognize the successes of Somaliland, but there is no such movement and there is no other country that has recognized Somaliland.