Somaliland rejects talk of unification with Somalia after Museveni comment

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[Al Jazeera]

Somaliland says it has no plans to discuss unity with Somalia despite the willingness of Uganda’s president to act as mediator.

The breakaway region of Somaliland said it has no plans to discuss unity with Somalia, appearing to contradict Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who said he would act as a “unification mediator” between the two.

“The Somaliland Government affirms that any dialogue that transpires between Somaliland and Somalia will not discuss unification, but rather how the two previously united countries can move forward separately,” it said in a statement late on Sunday, adding that it “has no plans for dialogue to discuss unity with Somalia”.

Somaliland declared autonomy from Somalia in 1991 but has not gained widespread international recognition for independence.

Some clan elders in disputed areas along Somaliland’s border with Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state say they want to be part of Puntland rather than Somaliland.

Heavy fighting broke out between Somaliland forces and militiamen in and around the town of Las Anod in one such area in February. More than 200,000 have been displaced since the violence began and according to data Al Jazeera received from hospitals in Las Anod in May, around 300 people had died and 1,913 were injured.

Since its secession, Somaliland has remained largely peaceful but analysts say the recent violence has negatively affected that image.

Museveni’s statement came a day after meeting Jama Musse Jama, a special envoy for Somaliland, in which he said “Somalia and Somaliland should do away with politics of identity if they want prosperity for their country”.

In response to Somaliland’s statement, Museveni’s deputy press secretary said Uganda’s state house had no comment.

Somalia’s information and interior ministers have not commented on the situation, though Somalia’s position has consistently been that it considers Somaliland part of Somalia and wants unification.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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