Somaliland hopes for independence (Aljazeera)

Somaliland hopes for independence

Citizens and leaders in the autonomous region of Somalia say they are historically and politically a separate country.

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Last Modified: 18 May 2013 08:16
The Horn of Africa has been ravaged by war and famine for decades, and now one of Somalia’s regions, hopes to become an independent state.Somaliland sits on the Gulf of Aden and is officially regarded as an autonomous region of Somalia. The two were, however, separate until 1960. During the civil war in the 1980s, 40,000 people from Somaliland were killed, and nearly half a million fled.

The region then declared independence in 1991. Since then, it has held four peaceful elections.

Somaliland President Ahmed Mahamoud Silany told Al Jazeera that Somaliland would like to retain its independence, despite Somalia’s calls to be united with region.

“I think I have been very clear too, that we are going to retain our independence.”

“We would like to remain friends with Somalia, we would like to coorporate with them,” he said. “But as far as our independence is concerned. It is not I who has decided, it’s not my government who has decided, it the people of Somaliland, and the history of Somaliland which has decided that Somaliland is going to be, and has always been a different country.”

Foreign investment

Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Hargeisa said that while war has raged in Somalia for decades, Somaliland has managed to unite its people.

“It is now the biggest exporter of livestock to Saudi Arabia,” said Moshiri. “Much of the progress has been down to Somalis sending money from abroad.”

Poverty, however, remains high and because Somaliland is not recognised as an independent state, it is not eligible for international development loans.

Our correspondent said that the United Nations and the African Union have both rejected calls to recognise Somaliland.

“Without recognition, it cannot get the foreign investment it needs,” she said, adding that aid is instead sent to Somalia.

Al Jazeera
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