H.E. Musa Behi Abdi, the recently elected president of the Republic of Somaliland, speaking to the press on Saturday, declared that Somaliland had no intention of crossing into Somalia territory even if Somalia’s Puntland engaged the army in battle.
“Africa respects colonial borders and both of Somalia and Somaliland are subject to international laws confining nations to within pre-independence, demarcated boundaries,” president Behi stated.
The President’s remarks were interpreted as a direct response to Puntland claims that the Somaliland army was planning to invade Garowe, the Somalia Federal State capital, some 8 kilometers beyond the Italian Somalia border with the former British Protectorate of Somaliland.
“The Somaliland army is 60-plus kilometers this side of our border.If it so happens that Somalia’s Puntland engages it in battle, the Somaliland army will advance to secure its border and will not cross it,” he emphasized.
The President also spoke of how committed the Republic of Somaliland was to the talks it started with Somalia seven years ago even though Somaliland fully well knows that Somalia leaders will never accept the inalienable fact that Somaliland has every right to fully and finally severe the flimsy ties still holding it to Somalia.
President Behi touched a point that has of recent become a contentious issue – that of his government’s relations with the free press.
“The press is the fourth state power,” the President said, continuing to say “We are, both, obliged to protect and develop this nation. That defines the boundaries of our mutual respect for one another”.
Somaliland gained independence before Somalia but went over to join it to form the Somali Republic which was legally dissolved by a military coup de tat in 1969. The Somaliland public never fully accepted Somalia domination which bloomed into full effect within the first twelve months of the life of the ill-fated union in 1960-61.
Despite meeting every criterion in the international diplomacy books, the country remains wrongfully snubbed by an international community whose values seem to be growing murkier and contradicting by the minute these past few years.