Egal Writes to RabinThe
In a letter dated July 3, 1995, transmitted by fax form Hargeisa to the then Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitshak Rabin, the president of self-proclaimed Somaliland, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, proposed establishing “strategic links” with
To back his suggestion, president Egal stressed the influence of Hebrew culture in Somaliland`s past and the fact that present-day Israel had been one of the first Western nations to recognize Somaliland`s independence vis à vs Great Britain, back in June 26, 1960, although this independence lasted only until the following July first when Somaliland and Somalia were merged.
Egal also underlined the danger of an expansion of fundamental Islamic movements into the Horn of Africa. The president wrote that his fear would increase “if the Influence of Islamic fundamentalism is not curtailed or contained very soon” in the Horn of Africa.
He wrote that Somaliland`s concern was reinforced by “the growing influence of Saudi Arabi and pro-Islamic
According to the president, “Discovering that
In a bid to resist this pro-Islamic pressure which he suggested could “adversely affect the national security of the state of Israel”, president Egal called for Israeli cooperation and hoped that he would be able to obtain Israeli aid and military in military equipment and counter-espionage experts, support in organizing a referendum in Somaliland around the end of the 1996 or early 1997, humanitarian assistance, and rehabilitation aid, as well as development aid counsellors and experts on petroleum and mining operations.
I.O.N – In the same letter, which has been circulating in Arab diplomatic circles and of which the Indian Ocean Newsletter has obtained a copy, president Egal spelled out that the idea of asking Israel for assistance came to him following an official visit to Eritrea by Somaliland`s deputy president and its foreign minister. Egal claimed that when the two men met the Israeli ambassador Eritrea, Ariel Kerem, in Asmara he had suggested that the Somaliland president write a personal letter to the late prime minister to inform him of Somaliland`s desire to collaborate with Israel.
Somaliland free to establish ties with Israel, says president
May 10, 2005
The president of Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin, has said no-one can stop Somaliland from establishing ties with the State of Israel if it so wished. The president blamed Arab states for the deterioration in ties between
The president made the remarks in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV aired last evening. He was featured in the programme called Today`s Meeting [Arabic: Liqa al-Yawm] - a programme which the TV runs each day and in which prominent world leaders are interviewed.
Looking very confident, he answered all the questions put to him by the Al-Jazeera reporters who called on him at the presidency recently very frankly. The president gave his answers in English which was then translated into Arabic. Below are the questions put to the president and his answers, which we have translated for you:
[Unnamed Al-Jazeera reporter] What has caused your ties with Arab countries to deteriorate?
[Kahin] The Arab countries are the ones responsible for the deterioration in the ties between us and it is them who have up to now not recognized our sovereignty which we presented to them several times. They are divided into two groups: some do not know all we underwent and what has caused us to separate from the rest of
[Reporter] Do you have any relations with
[Kahin] Many Arab countries have ties with
[Kahin] We have good relations with
[Reporter] Recently you said that you have arrested terrorist groups, who are they?
[Kahin] They are people who have recently carried out some terrorist acts in the country and some of them were from
[Reporter] Is there an ONLF [Ogaden National Liberation Front] group that operates from your country and launches attacks on
[Kahin] No there isn`t. We have a cooperation agreement with
[Haatuf] The president talked so much on what has made Somaliland to separate from the rest of
Text of report by
© 2005 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Paper urges government to establish ties with
September 11, 2004
Text of editorial entitled “Somaliland and Israel” by Somaliland`s English-language weekly The Somaliland Times on 11 September
It doesn`t make any sense why none of the successive Somaliland governments tried to explore the prospects of establishing long-term mutually beneficial relations between Somaliland and the state of Israel. Our needs for reconstruction, development of our untapped natural resources and preservation of our security should have driven us to seek cooperation with a country like
At times, the public was even let to believe that contacts were underway with the Jewish state, only to find out later that nothing of that sort has really been going on. But it is a high time that
There isn`t any shred of doubt that
Why we don`t invite them to become our partners in development, trade and joint business ventures for the mutual benefit of both sides?
As a people who have experienced genocide and with threats to our survival still looming large in the horizon, nothing seems more sensible than seeking cooperation with
With the overwhelming majority of the Somaliland public inclined to support the idea of establishing ties with Israel, all the Somaliland government has to do is seek turning it into reality.
© 2004 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
President Egal says recognizing Somaliland will stabilize Horn of AfricaBBC Monitoring
May 19, 2001
Text of the
[Arnot] In the best of all worlds, what is in it for the
We are using American currency as our second currency and we are consuming American products. We would welcome Americans to use our port and airbase, respecting our sovereignty.
[Arnot] What is your view of the new government in
[Egal] The intractable problem of
When the president was forming his new government, he has given six very important portfolios to people who are from
Somehow they have convinced themselves that Somaliland was given to them as a bonus in 1960 along with their independence and they are doing every thing possible to stop
So much has happened to us during the 20 years of union that we are not willing to go back to that. This feeling of separation and of trying to reclaim the sovereignty we have won form
There are a few dissenting individuals, but 85 per cent of the people of Somaliland are adamantly committed to the separation from
[Arnot] Who are your allies?
[Egal] We are now trying to educate several countries. We are doing a great deal of work in
Because the members of the OAU are very reluctant to make the first step. But the OAU can be the number two, and so we are hoping that the
[Arnot] Who is going to be the deal maker in your quest for recognition?
[Egal] I hope the UN, the Malaysians, the Thais. We are pinning our hopes on one of the great powers, especially the
[Arnot] If you had US Secretary of State Colin Powell alone for 2 minutes, what is your most potent argument?
[Egal] Things are very peaceful now, but there are always dangers on the horizon. We hold strategic importance that an American president would appreciate [all ellipsis as published] the route for oil from
[Arnot] What is the threat if the
We would rather fight
[Arnot] What is the greatest threat of a united
[Egal] That would be a greater
[Arnot] How does your lack of recognition hurt you?
[Egal] We have opened universities. They are in a rudimentary form no labs, no library. We dont have what a university should have. They need a great deal of re-equipment and enlargement. The road system has not been repaired and maintained for the last 20 years. We have to invest a great deal in veterinary care for out livestock-raising nomads. We have to establish very extensive veterinary services. We need a great deal of investment and we cannot get them on our own without the international community.
Most of our friends never thought we would last now 10 years have passed. UN agencies, NGOs have a presence, but its just a token humanitarian assistance.
The Arabs have not been very helpful, banning livestock for one reason for another. They have made a very big hole in our revenue. Naturally we cannot implement any development unless we get international cooperation from the IMF, EU or USAID We cannot do any effective development.
We can run and administrate [
[Arnot] Who is standing in your way and why?
[Egal] Bureaucratic rigmarole. In 1960, the two countries united to form the
We have lost the recognition of our identity. No one knows that we are a country that took its independence from
We have to educate our friends and brother and compatriots in the international community who we are and where we come from.
[Arnot] There is a great deal of fervour in southern
[Egal] We are different for other brothers. Every Muslim, real Muslim, who knows Islam well is worried about Islamic fundamentalism, which is the greatest enemy of Islam in the world today. They are trying to preach the interpretation of 1,400 years ago.
Our Koran is the living word of God every generation interprets that word according to its own comprehension. They are trying [to] stop Islam and freeze it. Every Muslim who really cares about Islam and understands Islam is very concerned and worried. They are not present here in
[Arnot] Is there a threat from a greater Islamic fundamentalism in
[Egal] I think that there are people who think they can get money from big Arab countries claiming to be extreme Muslims. The Ethiopian government is very worried reasonably worried about Islamic fundamentalism in
[Egal] There are several UN organizations which deal with animal health. The FAO is one of them. They came here to
[Arnot] What is the guarantee that if
[Egal] Its the very nature of our people. Every people have their own characteristics. Our people have demonstrated to the international community who they are.
[Arnot] Who are these people?
[Egal] They are moderate, very sane and very unselfish people who know how to live with other people in peace. They are very good traders. They have trading with
[Arnot] What kinds of relations would you have with
[Egal] We are not sensitive about
[Arnot] What is your view of
[Egal] There is a great deal of promise out of
© 2001 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
BBC Monitoring Service
June 12, 1998
The president of the self-declared
[Daww] Since 1991, the terms used [to describe Somaliland`s status] have varied from you seceding from the south and you being independent from it. What do you call the current reality that describes this situation?
[Egal] Without going into the historical circumstances that are well known to everyone, I can say that we have simply turned the clock back thirty years in order to return matters to their natural context, when we declared our independence from
There are two facts on which we must state our stances: First, we did not exploit the collapse of the state of Somalia in order to declare our republic`s independence; the declaration was the culmination of a continuing struggle against Siyad Barreh`s regime. Secondly, we chose to save our people so that we would not be swept away by the problems that afflicted Somalia after Barreh`s fall. It can, therefore, be said that we saved what we could.
[Q] To what extent do you think that you have achieved successes?
[A] In the first two years, we devoted ourselves to carrying out comprehensive national reconciliation between the tribes and clans, and we held about 48 mini-conferences to achieve this aim. We then held three expanded conferences to lay the constitutional and legal foundations and the structures of the civilian and democratic state and, to a certain extent, we have now succeeded in establishing all the state institutions. After we disbanded all the militias, we rebuilt the armed forces and the police on strong foundations. We recently drew up a comprehensive social development programme and started to implement it in phases that will continue until next year.
[Q] Did you receive any international aid?
[A] Unfortunately, we received no assistance from any state... [all ellipses as published] We received just a little aid from UN organizations, and we relied on our own resources by exporting our livestock to the
[Q] What is the point of all these achievements you have mentioned if your state has not been recognized?
[A] First, because of our fundamental conviction, we see no connection between recognition and salvaging the dignity of the Somali people who live in
[Q] What are these conditions that you are talking about?
[A] It is no secret that the world now includes us in the guilt of others. Everyone talks about
[Q] Then the subject of your recognition is dependent on resolving the whole Somali issue?
[A] Perhaps this is true from the formal and political point of view that I have mentioned... But whatever the reasons and the arguments, what is important is that we have not sat back in expectation of something that has not arrived. We are putting our house in order from within, and then we will wait and see.
[Q] Will you just wait... or do you at least have approaches that you can make?
[A] Naturally, we have not stopped making approaches to states or organizations... We do this from time to time, if only to remind them of our existence. We receive official and unofficial delegations... but we do not promote this in the media so that we do not embarrass anyone.
[Q] Does this include the
[A] Of course. During your stay here, the
[Q] Do you have a specific vision of how to resolve the problem in the south?
[A] The only problem the south has is the warlords, who have set themselves up to represent its people for more than seven years of war, for which there is no justification. The result is that they have completed the destruction which was started by Siyad Barreh. In the light of our experience, the solution ought simply to start from the bottom up, with reconciliation conferences between tribes. However, what is happening now is the complete opposite, because they are all eager for authority, even if it is authority over the ruins of all the Somalis. This is proved by the fact that in
In general, the proposals to solve this problem have been adopted by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and putting them into practice has perhaps led to the right path, just like the one that we have taken.
[Q] And is the independence or secession decision final or are you ready and willing to once again return to the union if the situation in the south becomes stable?
[A] First, on principle, we cannot make the same historic mistake once again. We were stung by the south in the past and we are not prepared to get stung twice. However, from a deeply nationalist viewpoint, if the situation in the south becomes stable and a transitional government that enjoys popular support and constitutional democracy is formed, it would be possible for us to enter into a dialogue regarding our relations with them. This dialogue will not go beyond the will of the people of
Also, I can tell you in advance that our people are ready to hold a referendum under UN supervision to decide their fate. We are wagering that no less than 70% would come out in favour of independence, since these people have suffered a great deal at the hands of the southerners, and particularly those faction leaders who now want to return to power.
[Q] Do you have any contacts with the Arab League?
[A] Unfortunately, these are weak. We had hoped that the Arab League would move and play a major part in resolving the Somali issue. However, the Arab League, as we see it, is the hostage of the contradictions of the Arab states themselves regarding their position on the Somali issue. I recently spoke to Arab League Secretary-General Ismat Abd al-Majid after a positive move on his part when he exchanged views with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and my suggestion to him was to put an end to all the failed efforts undertaken by governments and organizations regarding the Somali issue, and to launch immediately an initiative sponsored by the Arab League. We also suggested that there should be a ban on weapons and ammunition in
Reports on Egal`s visit to Israel “false and biased”
[Q] Some time ago, some press reports spoke of your visit to
[A] Those reports were false and biased and we denied them at the time. Such reports are aimed at harming and distorting the image of the people of Somaliland, who in the past took part in the battle to liberate
[Q] Who is behind them?
[A] Frankly, the organs of the Arab capital where these reports originated are involved in these rumours for purely political objectives. We do not want to reveal everything now but we will do so in due course. Also, we do not rule out that the Israeli intelligence organs have infiltrated some of the leaders of the Somali factions in the south. It is regrettable that some Arab organs not only imposed a blackout on our issue but also tried to harm us either intentionally or unintentionally. We pride ourselves, however, that we are an Arab country with no direct or indirect contacts with
[Q] What if
[A] I told you we that we do not haggle over our principles, our cause or our identity. Even if the Arab states were to stipulate a condition that touches these three sacred principles, we would not yield at all, let alone if the offer was to come from an entity which we see as the enemy of the Arab nation as a whole. We are not the ones using the Israeli card to blackmail the Arab states into giving us aid or recognizing us, even if all these states continue until God knows when to ignore our people`s cause and their self-determination. Also, we do not deny these reports in order to make anyone happy, particularly the Arab states, because what concerns us mainly is that our position should be harmonious and our conviction strong.
[Q] The fundamentalism phenomenon has crept to some countries in the Horn of Africa, and it has been said that it has reached you through an organization called the Islamic Union. Is this true?
[A] First it would surprise you if I told you that the word “union” now is the cause of some reservations among the people of
[Q] However, this small number may have become a phenomenon that would be difficult to deal with?
[A] No, we believe that oppression is always a reason that can incite any phenomenon. However, if you allow it to take its normal course, it would not gather any following, particularly in a society such as ours.
[Q] It has been said that they have regional links and foreign financing. Is this true?
[A] This may be the case in the south. As far as we are concerned, we do not exaggerate the matter. We see their real size and they do not pose any threat to security. Our constitution guarantees the basic freedoms.
[Q] Does this constitution mention pluralism?
[A] This indeed is mentioned, and we intend to hold a referendum on the constitution after the end of the current transitional phase, that is in three years` time, and we will add to it the law on parties. In view of the fact that tribalism is a reality in our society, it is assumed that a general feature of these parties will be that they are national parties, that is that they should be present in at least four out of the six provinces and that each party should not be based on religious, tribal or ethnic grounds. We will ask the United Nations to supervise the referendum.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
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