“The Somaliland Miracle” Dr Edna Aden

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A keynote speech delivered by Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, President’s Special Envoy 18 May Anniversary Reception Event Held by the Somaliland in London at Queen Marry University

Ten years after the Second World War ended, Somalis living in five different countries in the Horn of Africa, and under five different Colonial administrations, conceived the idea of bringing all five Somali countries together to form the Greater Somali Nation.

This was a noble idea and was similar to the same ambition that the nations of Europe had when they founded the European Union.

Sadly, the ambition that the Five Somali nations had, never materialised, and when the former British Somaliland Protectorate became the first and only Somali Nation to become independent, it waited for Italian Somalia to emerge from being an Italian Trusteeship, and with Somaliland being the senior partner, the former Italian Trust Territory of Somalia united with Somaliland.

The union between the sovereign and independent Somaliland and Somalia was a voluntary one and was neither a conquest, nor an annexation of one over the other. But what needs to be remembered is that the union never became ratified by the parliaments of the two nations, and therefore ended up as being an informal and illegal ‘living together’.

Today as we celebrate the 64th anniversary of our independence from Britain, and the 33rd Anniversary of our separation from Somalia, it might be a good time to reflect on the advantages our separation from former Italian Somalia has brought to the people of former British Somaliland.

But since our event is taking place in Great Britain, I wish to take this opportunity to also celebrate the bond of friendship and the pride we associate with the 74 years that British Somaliland Protectorate was part of the Great British Empire.

We wish to recall how our men fought alongside the British troops and the Allies during WW1 and WW2 in order to defend Freedom, Justice and Democracy in the Free World.

In fact the only Victoria Cross for bravery in the Horn of Africa front was awarded to Somalilanders during WW2, and other medals were also awarded for services to the Crown.

It is, however, very sad that today, many Britons, possibly out of ignorance, do not know about the long and loyal relationship between Britain and Somaliland, and instead choose to believe the rubbish that Somalia tells the world and, therefore, continues to support former Italian Somalia who during WW1 and WW2 had fought on the side of the Fascists and against the interest of the people of Britain.

Although Somalia tells the world that Somaliland is part of Somalia, Britain knows very well that the people of British Somaliland Protectorate, live within the boundaries that were established by Great Britain in 1884 through Anglo-French, Anglo-Italian and Anglo-Ethiopian Treaties, and thus respect the Constitution of the African Unity that stipulates that Colonial Boundaries cannot be changed. We fully control our territory since our independence on the 26th of June 1960 ( when Somalia was still an Italian territory on that date), and Somaliland in no way supports the fragmentation of nations nor in changing colonial borders.

On the contrary, it is Somalia that to this day does not have an internationally defined boundary, it is Somalia that does not have an independence date and it is Somalia that wishes to grab land from Kenya, from Ethiopia and from Somaliland, and finally, it is Somalia that is making a mockery of the Charter of the African Union.

After 9 long years of civil war, Somaliland extricated itself from Somalia in 1991 and immediately started to rebuild Somaliland which had sustained total destruction during the war that had also killed a quarter of a million of our people.

Ladies and gentlemen, 1991 can be described as the rebirth of our nation and we thank you all for celebrating this special occasion with us. Please know that our country is stable, and our economy is steadily growing and attracting an increasing number of foreign investors who wish to do business in Somaliland. We say ‘Welcome’ to all of you.

In partnership with DP World, the deep-water Port of Berbera continues to expand and serves as a major outlet/inlet for land-locked Ethiopia with a population of over 120 million.

Thanks to the UK that built the major road that links Berbera to the Ethiopia border, trade flows steadily in both directions between Ethiopia and Somaliland as it had done for hundreds of years.

Berbera airport also has the longest runway in Africa having been built by the Soviet Union and was further extended by the USA to become one of the six landing sites for the Columbia space shuttle.

Among the major achievements of Somaliland is the peace and stability that we are proud to have because we stablished it, and we maintain it with our own means. By contrast, Somalia relies on international peace-keeping forces to keep the peace throughout Somalia, even in its capital Mogadishu.

The foundation for our development started with the establishment of a Constitution which became overwhelmingly approved by our people through a Referendum in 2001. By contrast, Somalia remains lawless because it does not even have a constitution to this day.

In Somaliland, we embarked on the task of nation building and have held several parliamentary and presidential elections. We now have fully functioning government offices and Ministries as well as have an elected Parliament, Senate and President.

By contrast, Somalia has never held a single election and their president and so-called members of parliament just buy their votes from a couple of hundred others who nominate the highest bidder to the position of president of member of parliament.

Regretfully, rather than giving credit to Africa’s achievements similar to the shining example we have in Somaliland, the international community choses to reward Somalia which, even with the support and presence of 50,000 Peacekeeping forces, still maintains its position as the world’s worst Failed State, a safe haven for pirates and a partner for Shabaab.

The people of Somaliland have made a clear choice which is to steer the country towards further economic development, peace and democracy and keep doing it successfully as we have been doing steadily for the past 33 years.

Finally, our separation from Somalia is simply a withdrawal from the failed attempt between two independent nations to unite just as Senegal and Gambia had done without causing a domino effect, nor caused the borders of African to collapse. This is just one more misinformation that Somalia feeds the world.

Sadly, it is former Italian Somalia that has crumbled beyond repair and should try to put its house in order rather than blaming Somaliland for the chronic failures of Somalia.

Thank you for your attention.

Dr. Edna Adan Ismail