Mogadishu Somalia – The Djibouti Conference, held on December 28-29, 2023, marked a significant step in the ongoing dialogue between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Government of “Somaliland”. The conference, attended by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of the FGS, President Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland, and President Ismail Omar Geelle of Djibouti, culminated in a joint communique that has since stirred a mix of optimism and concern across the region. This article explores the intricacies of these discussions, the concerns of the SSC-Khatumo region, and the broader implications for peace and stability in Somalia.
The agreement reached at the Djibouti Conference represents a significant stride towards resolving long-standing issues between the Somalia and Somaliland. The terms of the communique include a commitment to restart the dialogue, focusing on achieving a lasting solution to the issues at hand. The parties agreed to formulate a roadmap within 30 days and establish technical committees to facilitate this process. Moreover, the communique underscores the importance of implementing previously agreed-upon agreements, dating back to various meetings held in Ankara, London, Istanbul, and Djibouti between 2012 and 2020. This agreement demonstrates a renewed commitment to dialogue, which is essential for the stability of the region.
The SSC-Khatumo Concerns: A Question of Inclusivity
However, the conference has raised significant concerns regarding the interests of the SSC-Khatumo region and the plight of the people of Las’anod. Critics argue that the Federal Government of Somalia did not adequately address the suffering endured by the residents of Las Anod, who faced indiscriminate bombardment by Somaliland forces for eight months. The formation of a separate administration by the people of Las Anod after the withdrawal of Somaliland forces on August 25, 2023, is a direct response to these concerns. This situation highlights the need for an inclusive approach in the dialogue process, ensuring that the rights and aspirations of all regions and communities in Somalia are recognized and addressed.
The joint communique’s perceived imbalance has sparked concerns among those who feel that the government of Somaliland has gained more from the agreement than the Federal Government of Somalia, particularly at the expense of the SSC-Khatumo region. Critics have deemed leaving the resolution of atrocities that Somaliland forces committed against the people of SSC-Khatumo solely to cultural elders as insufficient and an insult to the Somali people who suffered during the eight-month conflict. This criticism underscores the necessity for a comprehensive and just approach in addressing the grievances of all affected communities.
Moving Forward: The Path to Inclusive Dialogue and Lasting Peace
Looking ahead, all parties involved in the Somalia-Somaliland dialogue must address these concerns and ensure the process is truly inclusive. The rights and aspirations of all regions, including the SSC-Khatumo area, must be a central part of the discussions. Only through a comprehensive and fair approach can lasting peace, stability, and justice be achieved for all Somali people.
The situation in Las’anod and the SSC-Khatumo region serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics in Somali politics and the necessity for a nuanced approach to conflict resolution. The Federal Government of Somalia, Somaliland, and international stakeholders must diligently work to create a platform that hears and respects all voices. This effort is essential not only for resolving current issues immediately but also for laying the groundwork for a stable and prosperous Somalia, where sensitivity and a deep understanding of the local context address regional conflicts.
In conclusion, the Djibouti Conference has opened a new chapter in Somalia-Somaliland relations, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to longstanding issues. However, the success of this initiative hinges on its ability to address the concerns and aspirations of all stakeholders, including those in the SSC-Khatumo region. As Somalia navigates these complex political waters, the international community’s support and a commitment to a balanced, inclusive approach will be pivotal in ensuring that the path to peace and stability is one that encompasses the needs and rights of all Somali people. The journey ahead is fraught with challenges, but with a commitment to inclusivity and justice, a stable and united Somalia is within reach.