Somaliland President arrives in Washington for High Level talks

Somaliland President arrives in Washington for High Level talks

By: Mohamed Duale

Somaliland  President Muse Bihi Abdi and his delegation arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport.

President bihi and his delegation were warmly welcomed by the Somaliland Foreign minister Dr. Isse Kayd Mohamoud, Somaliland Ambassador to the United States Bashir Goth, and Somaliland Diaspora in the United States.

During his visit, President Bihi will meet with Biden Administration Officials, members of Congress, Business Leaders, and Civil Society Representatives. Talks will include ways of strengthening relations between Somaliland and the U.S.

The visit came a months after a congressional staff delegation visited Somaliland capital Hargeisa and discussed president Bihi the Somaliland-US relations, stability, development, vibrant democracies, and elections.

The delegation accompanying the Somaliland President’s visit to Washington includes Ministers of Interior, Environment, Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, and Information as well as members of the business community from Somaliland’s largest businessmen and civil society groups.

Several sources had told Horn Diplomat President Bihi will deliver tomorrow a speech at the Heritage Foundation optimistically entitled: “The greater promise of closer U.S. and Somaliland ties.


The Growing Relationship Between Somaliland and US 


Somaliland is positioned along the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Bab al-Mandeb, a major sea lane through which almost one-third of the world’s shipping passes. Its location has helped Somaliland to attract great-power world competition.

On October 19, 2021, The Heritage Foundation,  American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C urged the government of the United States of America Should recognize Republic of Somaliland

“The U.S. should recognize Somaliland as an independent country. In practice, the territory is not now, nor is likely to be, a part of Somalia. Acknowledging that reality would allow Washington to create more effective policy in an important and contested region. A strong relationship with an independent Somaliland would hedge against the U.S. position further deteriorating in Djibouti, which is increasingly under Chinese sway. It would demonstrate the benefits Washington confers on those who embrace representative government and would allow the U.S. to better support the territory’s tenacious, but still-consolidating, democracy. An independent Somaliland would be a stable partner that has little risk of experiencing the tumult that frustrates American interests elsewhere in the volatile region. Somalilanders deserve the justice of having their decades-long practice of independence recognized and should be allowed to disassociate from the dysfunction of southern Somalia that hinders their development.” said Heritage report

Just three weeks after the Heritage Foundation report, former US national security adviser Robert O’Brien said recognizing Somaliland as an independent country “is a key step in stemming the Chinese Communist Party’s rising tide on the continent and would show other nations that there is an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in East Africa and around the world”.

“When a free and developing nation stands up to China and rejects its tainted aid, the United States should make every effort to help it succeed, particularly when in a strategically vital region. Somaliland is one such country and deserves both US recognition and assistance,” Robert O’Brien, the former US national security adviser said

On the other hand,  Somaliland government is offering the U.S. military use of a seaport and airfield overlooking strategic maritime routes in exchange for steps toward recognizing Somaliland as a sovereign country.

“The president would definitely welcome a U.S. presence and protection of the waterways,” Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr Essa Kayd said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal

Abdinasser Ahmed a Development practitioner based in Malaysia said “Somaliland commands 850km of the Red sea – one of the world’s most important sea lines because of its high potential from geopolitical to geo-economics importance which gives the United States the incentives to establish a diplomatic and military relationship with Somaliland – a relationship that is prerequisite a roadmap for recognition”

This is a developing story, Please check back at the Horndiplomat for Updates.

© Horn Diplomat 2022

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