Somaliland To Boycott Upcoming Somalia Conference in London, Silanyo Says

Somaliland will not participate in the international conference on Somalia scheduled for May 7 in London, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo said on Saturday. Silanyo, who came back from a five-day visit to Turkey, made the announcement in a press conference in Hargeisa.

Silanyo also refuted rumors that the Qatari government was planning to host a meeting between Somalia and Somaliland, saying they have received no communications from Qatar.

Somaliland declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but is yet to receive any international recognition.

Silanyo said the London conference would have given the two sides the opportunity to talk, but that his administration has now decided to boycott the conference, according to Voice of America’s Somali Service.

Back in February, during a meeting in London with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Silanyo affirmed Somaliland’s commitment to having talks with Somalia, according to a statement from Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The British government hosted the first London Somalia Conference in February 23, 2012. The conference, which was attended by presidents and delegations from more than 50 countries, addressed key socio-political, economic and security issues in Somalia. With the situation on the ground changing for the better, the second international conference on Somalia will focus on how the international community can work in partnership with the Somali government.

“Now is the best time in a generation for Somalia to get back onto the road to recovery with the support of its international friends and neighbors,” read a statement from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “The changes in Somalia over the last year, including the withdrawal of al-Shabaab from major towns and cities, the peaceful transition of power to a new government, and renewed international support, offer a unique platform on which to build stability and security in the country.”

Former Transitional Federal Government of Somalia President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed met with Silanyo in Dubai mid last year, the first direct talks Somaliland region agreed to have with Somalia since it broke away from the rest of the country in 1991.

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