Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said the willingness of residents living in the self-declared autonomous region to fully embrace democracy has played a pivotal role in making the area unattractive to hard-line Islamist insurgents, such as al-Shabab.
Mohammed Abdullahi Omar welcomed what he described as the renewed U.S. interest after a top official in the Obama administration said Washington wants to strengthen ties with both Somaliland and Puntland, located in the Horn of Africa.
“We are very pleased with the statement coming from the United States government stating that they will like to strengthen the cooperation and the relationship they have with the government of Somaliland. I think this is great news and we are very delighted with the increased and the renewed interest from the U.S. side in Somaliland.”
Omar also said the renewed interest will present his government with the opportunity to collaborate with Washington on a number of issues that “have got mutual interests for both countries.”
Johnnie Carson, the U.S assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, said strengthening relations with both breakaway regions of Somalia could help stave off growing threats of hard-line Islamist insurgents.
Carson said Washington will be supporting both self-declared autonomous regions by sending diplomats and more aid workers there.
Omar said his country is pleased with the revived U.S interest in Somaliland.
“Somaliland has been stable for the last 19 years and we have definitely adopted (a) system into our politics. And, we have had a free and fair presidential election a few weeks ago, whereby a new president won the election. This has demonstrated that Somaliland’s political system has matured.”
He added that Somaliland’s “matured” democracy has renewed interest not only from Washington, but also “other western countries, and made them change their view on Somaliland.”