On 23 October 2019, Global Diplomatic Council (GDC) Secretary General and Executive Chairperson Hon. Amb. Yohan Byrde and Deputy Secretary General Mr. Jeroen Zandberg had a high level meeting with the Speaker of the Somaliland House of Representatives Hon. Bashe Mohamed Farah. Film crews of the main television stations of Somaliland broadcast the arrival of the GDC delegation to the premises of the House of Representative. After a short presentation to the media, the GDC delegation, the Speaker of the House and a number of Somaliland parliamentarians continued their discussions behind closed doors.
The Speaker of the House explained the workings of the parliament in Somaliland politics and emphasised the fact that Somaliland has been a peaceful and democratic country for almost three decades, despite being in a region where failed States and dictatorships are the rule instead of the exception. Unfortunately, the House has no links or communication with their counterpart in Somalia. It has some connections with other parliaments of countries in the region like Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya and the Speaker hopes that these will strengthen and will also be expanded to other countries. This issue is one of the areas in which the GDC offered to play a role in improving the international links with other parliaments.
The House has 82 members who are elected through a popular vote. The next election is scheduled for 2020 and promises to be highly contested, as were most previous elections, showcasing the vibrant democratic culture of Somaliland, which is also reflected in the nine committees of the House of Representatives.
The Chairperson, Hon. Ahmed Abdi Nour, and vice-chairperson, Hon. Abdiaziz Ismail Dualeh, of the Foreign Affairs committee of the House of Representatives participated in the meeting. The Foreign Affairs committee has frequent talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and takes part in meetings. The committee continues to push for a road map that outlines the strategy of the government and provides an impetus to break the deadlock of non-recognition that hinders the further growth of Somaliland. The GDC delegation and the committee members had a lively conversation about the history, present and future of the foreign relations of Somaliland and how the GDC might be able to assist with increasing the international position of Somaliland.
According to the Foreign Affairs Committee Members the recognition process has been halted for some time now with hope fading away of coming to an agreement soon that would do the country and the people justice. The international community holds on to the opinion that the resolution of the status of Somaliland is up to the African Union, which however is reluctant to accept the reality of an independent Somaliland due to the precedence this might provide to other territories in Africa. Until two years ago there were bi-lateral talks, with Turkey being the facilitator. However, these talks were halted. Somaliland is currently looking to restart talks and hopes that several countries will present themselves as mediators, not mere facilitators, between Somalia and Somaliland. The GDC is well equipped to support Somaliland in this process and in the coming months will work closely with the Somaliland government and other institutions to manoeuvre the country into a favourable position that does the aspirations of the people justice.