Thursday, March 22, 2007

(Very) disappointed with the British Government

Hargeisa - camel herdsman, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair received a petition asking:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Recognise Somaliland as a sovereign state."

Details of petition:

"Somaliland's population have succeeded in creating a working democracy in the north of theSomalia. Yet their attempts at gaining internatonal recognition have fallen on deaf ears."

His pitiful and spineless response was published today and is as follows:

"The Government does not recognise Somaliland as an independent state, neither does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia. Nevertheless, the UK is aware of the position of the Somaliland authorities and of opinion within Somaliland. Our policy has long been that the Somalis themselves should determine their future relationship and that their neighbours and African countries should take the lead in recognising any new arrangements which emerge from any dialogue.

The Government has urged Somaliland and the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia to engage in dialogue so that a mutually acceptable solution for their future relationship can be agreed. We are also encouraging the AU to explore the issue further with the parties and key players in the region."

I will no doubt come back o this, but where is the leadership on this issue? The UK was quite happy to go on its own course in respect to Iraq, why not with Somaliland? After all, we owe Somaliland for the help they gave the UK in the First and Second World Wars. A plaque in Marble Arch is not enough.

The Prime Minister here talks about the Somalis sorting the issue out amongst each other but does not a 97% vote in favour of independence by the people of Somaliland count? And who is to represent the rest of Somalia where there is no accountable or accepted, let alone elected government of Somalia, and there hasn't been one for many eyars. In fact, we cannot expect such a government to form in the foreseeable future, especially given the recent escalation in violence in Mogadishu, where dead and mutilated bodies have been pulled through the streets, in scenes reminiscent of Achilles and Hector during the Trojan War.

This is a shameful neglect o Britain's historical duty to the people of Somaliland and I think we should be ashamed of ourselves. In the meantime, we are quite happy to pat ourselves on the back for being instrumental in ending the international slave trade 200 years ago, a trade in which the Brits and the French made more money than anyone else. Instead of looking back, let us see what positive things we can achieve now.

I am very disappointed.


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