Foreign relations of Somaliland
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations of Somaliland are the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Somaliland is a de facto independent state, which is regarded by all foreign governments as part of Somalia. The country's self-declared independence remains unrecognised by the international community.
Due to its status, Somaliland currently has no official contacts with any nation. International recognition as a sovereign, stable state, remains at the forefront of the government's current foreign policy. Other key priorities are encouraging international aid and foreign investment.
The position of the Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and United Nations and the African Union favouring the preservation of existing national borders has so far prevented recognition of Somaliland's sovereignty. An African Union fact-finding mission that visited Somaliland in early 2005 recently published a report that recommended favourable consideration for recognising Somaliland's independence.
Overview and history
Somaliland has political contacts with its neighbours Ethiopia, and Djibouti, as well as with Belgium, France, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. On 17 January 2007, the European Union sent a delegation for foreign affairs to discuss future cooperation. The African Union has also sent a foreign minister to discuss the future of international acknowledgment, and on January 29 and 30, 2007, the ministers stated that they would discuss acknowledgement with the organisation's member states In June 2007, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi held a conference with Somaliland's President Kahin, during which he was referred to in an official communique by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry as the President of Somaliland, the first time that Somaliland has been officially referred to as a sovereign state by a foreign government. While this is not claimed as a move to official recognition by Ethiopia, it is seen as a possible step toward a unilateral declaration by Ethiopia in the event of the African Union failing to move its recognition of Somaliland forward.
In 2007, a delegation led by President Kahin was present at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. Although Somaliland has applied to join the Commonwealth under observer status, its application is still pending.
On November 27, 2007, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck of the ELDR, one of three main parties in the European Union, mailed a letter to Javier Solana (the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union), and to President Kahin of Somaliland, which called upon the EU to recognise Somaliland. In December 2007, the United States government discussed whether to back the shaky transitional government in Mogadishu or to acknowledge and support the less volatile Somaliland secessionists.
In early 2006, the National Assembly of Wales extended an official invitation to the Somaliland government to attend the royal opening of the Senedd in Cardiff. The move was seen as an act of recognition by the Welsh Assembly of the breakaway government's legitimacy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office made no comment on the invitation. Wales is home to a significant Somaliland expat community.
In 2002 Germany considered recognising Somaliland and establishing a military base in the country. They did not do so and the naval base was established in Djibouti. German naval ships already operated from Berbera.
In February 2010, there were rumours that Israel might recognise Somaliland. The rumours turned out to be wrong. Additionally, there was an arms smuggling affair involving Somaliland and an Israeli arms dealer.
Diplomatic Representative Offices
Somaliland maintains representative (liaison) offices in several countries, but these missions do not have formal diplomatic status under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Such offices exist in the following cities:
- Addis Ababa 
- Djibouti 
- London 
- Paris 
- Pretoria 
- Stockholm 
- Turin 
- Washington D.C. 
The following foreign governments have diplomatic offices in Hargeisa:
- Ethiopia – consulate; headed by a diplomat with the rank of ambassador. Ethiopia also maintains another consulate in the neighboring autonomous Puntland region. It has an embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.
As of February 2010, the Yemeni government is reportedly planning to open a diplomatic office in Hargeisa. In October 2010, Yemeni officials and the Puntland administration also agreed to establish a similar consulate and commercial office in the Puntland region.
Somaliland's leaders have distanced themselves from the Federal Government of Somalia, which they see as a threat to their independence.
Somaliland issues its own passports. They are not recognized as national passports by any country, but the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, South Africa, South Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia accept them as unofficial travel documents.
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