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US Dual Track Policy in Somalia to Result in Increased Aid to Somaliland
Washington(Horn)-Former American ambassador and expert on Horn Africa issues David Shinn has said that the participation of Somaliland in the February London conference on Somalia is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Q: Sir, since, the USA government announced a dual track policy in Somalia, 20 clan-owned regional administrations have been created, do you think it is a viable attitude, and will it enhance Somaliland’s recognition?
A: I don't believe that the creation of local administrations in Somalia will have any impact on Somaliland's declaration of independence. None of these jurisdictions is pressing for independence and even if they did, I doubt that the African Union or international community would support such a request. On the other hand, the dual track policy of the United States should result in more development assistance for Somaliland.
Q: Being a former Ambassador familiar with horn Africa policies, how do you see current relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia, and do you believe it is a one way interest of Ethiopia instead of dual?
A: The current relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia is good. At least for the time being, it works to the advantage of both Ethiopia and Somaliland. Ethiopia wants a friendly neighbor along all of its borders and Somaliland serves that purpose. An Ethiopia that makes greater use of Berbera port and the transport of goods across Somaliland can work to the advantage of both entities
Q: American oil companies in the last decade were active exploring oil on what was called Somalia; do you see their coming back? And if new companies are given concession of old companies, what will be the repercussions according to international laws?
A: I see no indication that American oil companies are interested at this time in pursuing possible oil exploration anywhere in Somalia or Somaliland. They probably perceive there is too much risk involved. In the case of Somaliland, I understand that there are also some legal and insurance hurdles because it has not obtained international recognition
Q: in the Last 2 decades Somalilanders were seeking their basic fundamental rights of sovereign state, like the time American population struggling for their independence, don’t they have acquiescence, like yours?
A: While Somaliland has the most democratic government in the Horn of Africa, the international community has apparently decided not to take any action on formal recognition until the African Union gives its seal of approval. Consequently, what happened in the United States more than 200 years ago is not perceived as relevant to the situation in Somaliland today.
Q: Next month the UK government will hold conference on Somalia, where your government is also invited, and Somaliland which had earlier rejected that conference seems to be rethinking its participation, is being there for opportunity Somaliland? What do you advise Somaliland to do, Take part or abstain?
A: As a former diplomat, I almost always see utility in more dialogue. I don't know the details of the UK conference, but it seems to me that there is no significant downside to participation by Somaliland. The representatives do not have to accept the outcome, but they might be able to make useful contributions and to gain a better understanding about the positions of other interested parties
Q: Lastly, we all are aware that the unification treaty of Somalia and Somaliland wasn’t ratified by the UN, under which law should that unification be abided?
A: I am not a lawyer. This question is beyond my competence.