Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Somaliland: Time To Consider Independence

14th January 2009

Independent Somaliland could be a force for stability and good governance

The time has come to consider more seriously Somaliland’s quest for independence as the situation in the Horn of Africa deteriorates further, Conservative MEP Charles Tannock said today [14 January 2009] ahead of a parliamentary debate on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

Dr Tannock, a member of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that an independent Somaliland, supported by the international community, could potentially be a force for stability and good governance in an otherwise hopeless region.

Somaliland was formerly a British protectorate that became briefly independent in 1960 but then chose to be absorbed into the Somali Republic. In 1991 as Somalia descended into chaos following the death of dictator Siad Barre, Somaliland once again opted to go its own way. However, Somaliland is not recognized internationally as a sovereign state by any country, despite having developed the symbols and functional governance of an independent state.

Dr Tannock said:

“Somaliland is the only cohesive and functional public authority in Somalia.

“The people of Somaliland benefit from a relatively benign government and progressive institutions as well as having symbols of statehood such as a separate currency and flag. Perhaps it’s time we began to consider more seriously Somaliland’s quest for independence.

“An independent Somaliland, supported by the international community, could be a force for stability and progress in an otherwise hopeless region, and could be an ally in fighting the scourge of piracy off the Somali coast.

“Certainly the people of Somaliland would be justified in asking why the international community is so reluctant to recognize their country but was so quick to recognize Kosovo.”