“ABANDONING THE ‘PUTTING BACK SOMALIA’ APPROACH: LORD PICKLE CALLS FOR SOMALILAND RECOGNITION”

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We welcome the resounding statement from Lord Pickle, the Parliamentary Chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel in the House of Lords, as he passionately urges the United Kingdom to Recognize Somaliland. Lord Pickle advocates for a departure from the ineffective “Putting back Somalia” strategy, asserting that it has yielded unfavorable results. His emphatic declaration, “Putting back Somalia has not worked,” resonates with our stance, and we wholeheartedly align ourselves with his call for a shift in policy towards recognizing Somaliland.

Somaliland boasts an unperturbed 850 km Red Sea coastline, notably devoid of piracy, owing to its steadfast commitment to pro-Western democratic principles. Earlier this year, Ethiopia took a significant step by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland, signaling a hopeful path towards Ethiopia’s recognition of Somaliland as an independent entity. If realized, this historic move would mark Somaliland as the first UN member state to receive such recognition. It is imperative that the global community views this encouraging development with a sense of urgency, acknowledging the potential positive implications for regional stability and diplomatic relations.

In recent times, it has become increasingly evident that the West’s substantial involvement in foreign affairs, with a focus on regions such as Ukraine and the Middle East, highlights the growing global risks. Each passing day seems to magnify these risks, with Houthi attacks posing a severe threat. A tragic milestone was reached with a Wednesday assault in the Gulf of Aden, resulting in the loss of at least three crew members aboard a commercial vessel and compelling the remaining crew to abandon ship. This marks the first instance where a Houthi rebel attack has led to the loss of lives among ship workers.

In the face of these escalating challenges, there is a crucial opportunity for the world to play a significant role in shaping the future of the Horn of Africa. Lord Stuart Polak emphasized this during a debate on the impact of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports, highlighting the contribution to the danger of famine in the Horn of Africa. He stated, “Somaliland has been free of the almost daily terrorist violence inflicted by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab in the rest of the Somali region. That is because Somaliland spends 30% of its annual budget on security.” Furthermore, Lord Polak emphasized the UK’s recognition of Somaliland’s critical role in securing its 850 kilometers of Red Sea coast by being a leading supporter of its security forces, contributing to the stability that safeguards the UK.

Considering these developments, it is imperative for the UK to revisit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and ensure the fulfillment of obligations to the people of Somaliland. Somaliland requires assistance, UK support, and international recognition to navigate these challenging times effectively.

The effort to reunify Somalia has proven ineffective. The global landscape has evolved significantly since the inception of the One Somalia Policy, and it is evident that a new approach is necessary. The world’s policies must adapt to the current reality and acknowledge Somaliland’s noteworthy contributions to regional stability and security. It is imperative to recognize and uphold Somaliland’s vital role, ensuring it is neither overlooked nor undervalued. The time for international recognition of Somaliland is long overdue.