Somaliland: a beacon of hope – Ethiopian Foreign Affairs

Press Release from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa, 2 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) — There was more positive news coming out of Somaliland this week. It is to be recalled that a short while ago, the political situation in Somaliland was a source of great concern. There was a real possibility for Somaliland to loose the stability and peace that it has managed to maintain for the last decade and a half. These would have been tragic and unfortunate and out of character for Somaliland political elites. It is to be recalled also that previously Somaliland politicians had demonstrated great wisdom and skill to avoid political crisis. For instance, the last Presidential election which was won by President Riyale could easily have led to serious conflict between the major political parities because the margin of victory by the ruling party was only 80 votes. Nonetheless this did not lead to violence or political instability in Somaliland.

This time in the run-up to the next presidential contest, sharp disagreements emerged between the ruling party and the two opposition parties, in particular over matters surrounding the system of voter registration and the extension of the presidential term until election is held. After protracted negotiations, and with the support of Ethiopia and the United Kingdom both of which sent delegations to Hargeisa, the three parties finally signed an agreement resolving most of the outstanding issue.

Now they have also managed to nominate new members to the electoral commission and this have been approved by the parliament. This paves the way for the holding of successful elections shortly. This latest development can be seen as a demonstration of the common sense of Somaliland’s political class, showing their willingness to put the interests of Somaliland first.

It also underlines the value of addressing any problem that may arise through dialogue and discussion. The point was emphasized by the fact that yesterday (October 29, 2009) was the anniversary of the three Al-Shabaab suicide car bombs which exploded in Hargeisa a year ago, leaving 24 dead and over 30 injured at the UNDP office, the Ethiopian Trade Office and the Presidential Palace.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

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