Since the London Somalia Conference in 2012, which championed the pursuant provision 6 of the communiqué of the conference, talks between Somaliland and Somalia made no tangible progress.1 Both entities admitted to engage in the proposed talks with altruistic energy and there were some ad hoc and planned meetings that both sides showed their varied interests on the commencement of the talks with openness and continuation without first having consensus on the strategic objectives of such talks.
Moreover, it is axiomatic because of the impromptu nature of the talks between Somalia and Somaliland was bound to fail at any moment for several reasons. First, because of the sovereignty disputes, thus the situation of talks lacked the necessary enabling environment.
The current failure of the talks between Somaliland and Somalia is because in the impromptu talks the concerned entities engaged in tacit political hostility. Thus, the failed talks between Somalia and Somaliland have many political repercussions beyond these entities and across the region. Therefore, the need for third part mediation can be one rational move in order to prevent further political and security clashes between two sides.
Indeed, it was apparent that British government and the EU were the central actors in the remaking of the Somalia state- leading the building process in the post transitional period in 2012 and this has also succeeded to put Somalia into the international limelight, whereas nowbilateral and multilateral actors view Somalia as horrible but slow recovering is underway in the last few years of the post- transitional period.
The initiative of the talks between Somaliland and Somalia was emanated from the British government’s leading efforts to make the region more peaceful and secure combined with Turkey’s commitment on hosting the talks as well as, its humanitarian and development interventions in Somalia.
However, the Turkish government which hosted the talks seemed to be lacking in depth experiences on the issues of Somaliland and Somalia, since Turkey’s involvement in Somalia and Somaliland primarily started 2011. This case of Somaliland and Somalia needs to be sufficiently studied by external actors since the central problem and its symptoms are wide-ranging and not easy to facilitate the debating of the issues that both sides presented.
For this reason, some of the political commentators and intellectuals view that this failure of the talks between Somaliland and Somalia was partly due to Turkey’s limited experiences about Somalia and Somaliland contemporary political developments .and because of Turkey’s unilateral involvement in these talks which has not been attracted by other international community members who had long term involvement and knowledge about the issues of Somaliland and Somalia.
Hence, the failure of the airspace agreement signed between the two sides was empirical evidence that flagged the possible failure of the talks; the most frustrating factor of the talks was that no single outcome was realized. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that if the joint airspace agreement fails, there is no doubt that the whole talks will be a failure and that the Turkey’s mediation role will be questioned.2
However, the next move of the talks needs clear understanding and strong international community leadership since both sides raised controversial signals that can underpin the recent disagreements. Although Somaliland’s argument was more valid than Somalia, because Somaliland is arguing that the failure of the talks was the deliberate intention from Somalia’s side since Somalia has changed the negotiating team of the talks and breached some of the agreements reached before by two countries.
By Mohamed A. Mohamoud (Barawani)