I have pleasure to participate in this meeting and to express in the first place my great appreciation to this august assembly of honourable members of the European parliament who have taken the time to come to this meeting despite their heavy responsibilities. As friends of Somaliland, many thanks for your concern , cooperation and advice. I would like to thank also all those officials for the serious efforts they have made to organize this meetnig within such a short notice.

I have the privilege, in addition, to convey to the distinguished members of parliament and delegates greetings and best wishes for the season from the President of Somaliland, Mudane Musa Bihi Abdi. We extend also our appreciation to the Kingdom and government of Belgium and to this beautiful capital of Europe, Brussels.

My statement, will deal in summary with the current situation in Somaliland and with other recent developments in the region- the Horn of Africa. What are the challenges and pressing issues that face the region ? What does Somaliand and its people expect from the international community and the European Union in particular ?

In the first place, as you are fully aware of the background, I understand there is no need to dwell on this point. Our position is to co-exist with Somalia as two sovereign states.

Over the years, Somalilanders have established a reputation for remarkable achievements ; for reconciliation,peace, stability and moderation. In less than three decades, the government and people have succeded in putting in place democratic structures, based on the rule of law, good governance institutions that accelerate social and economic development. Since 1991 the country has had peaceful changes of governments : in 1993,1997, 2002,2003,2010 and 2017. Today, Somaliland is a beacon of stability and democracy in the Horn of Africa. We now have challenges to the democratization process in Somaliland which we can overcome in cooperation with the international community and other international partners.

The country’s home grown market economy, and thriving private sector constitute other important achievements that contribute towards the creation of jobs for the youth and the improvement of the living statndard of the general population. Health facilities, education, water supply to urban and rural areas,transport and other public services continue to be delivered to the public, ( please see statistics attached ).

Somaliland , as an oasis of peac, is situated in a regione that falls shortage of stability and which is characterized now by upheavals and sudden changes .Seurity needs are therefore basic needs of Somaliland. Somaliland currently spends more than 52 % of its state budget on security for her defence against terrorism, and destabilization. The security system ensures domestic peace while the Coast Guards look after the coastal areas against piracy, on all the country’s coast which is the gate way to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The goernment cooperates with neighbouring countries and works with international organizations including the UN, EU to deal with piracy,migration, maritime security and other maritime issues.The Somaliland government is committed to cooperate on all these matters.

Somaliland seeks to promote regional peace and security in cooperation with neighbouring countries and the international community. Within this context, it endeavours to promote regional cooperation and to establish links for regional transit and trade. The current investments by Dubai Port Authority in Berbera port and the Berbera Road Corridor are meant to enhance efficiency, and are essential links for regional transit and trade with neighbouring countries and the region as awhole.

As far as Somaliland’s relations with Somalia are concerned, it is fair to say that relations remain strained and difficult. This partly due to the legacy of dictatorship and to the continued reluctance of the government of Somalia to engage constructively with Somaliland. Somaliland’s favoured policy is resolution of all outstanding problems peacefully through dialogue. Historicaly, Somaliland and Somalia were two seperate sovereign countries which shared the Union that failed in1991. Somaliland has a right, in comformity with the democratic choice of its people and international law, to co-exist, as an independent country.

Somaliland’s economy is home-grown. But on the basis of its current Development Plan, the country is determined to make social and economic progress and to alleviate poverty in partnership with the EU and its member states. Because of its present status, it continues to encounter many difficulties due to non-recognition and this matter continues to hamper development aid from the internationl community. Non-recognition has a detrimental effect on its international banking, international insurance , technical transfer cooperation and so on. Somalilanders face also difficulties to have visas because of such limitations.

In conclusion, it is also important to state that Somaliland’s entitlement to exercise its right of self-determination was all the more enhanced by the democratic choice of its people as expressed in the May 2001 referendum in which the overwhelming majority of Somalilanders approved the new constitution that affirm the country’s independence. We consider the results of this referendum, as other referendums in Europe and Africa, should lead to its implementaion.