Pontus Marine

Sunday, April 23, 2017

UK sets conditions to recognise Somaliland

House of Commons Library  Feb 2017- For the UK to assist Somaliland to gain international recognition, a policy decision would need first to be taken that Somalia – or the idea of Somalia as a state – has lost its legitimacy.


The UK Government was a strong supporter of President Mohamud, although it shared much of the frustration of other donors with his performance, not least on corruption. On 8 February 2017, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson congratulated President Farmajo on his victory.
For all of its problems over the last year or so, the UK Government remains a strong supporter of AMISOM.
Read the paper here




The UK Government is sympathetic to the idea of a federal Somalia. This would include Somaliland, with which the UK Government has a positive relationship, co-operating on development, counter-terrorism and piracy issues, but which it does not (and will not) recognise as an independent state. The UK Government has encouraged direct talks between the Somali Federal Government and its Somaliland counterpart in recent years.

General UK policy is not to support secessionism within internationally recognised states. This policy is long-established and reflects the UN’s position since its creation after World War II. However, there have been a small number of exceptions to this rule.
• There have been exceptions where secession has been mutually accepted by leading parties within a state, usually in the context of a peace process and/or peace agreement (South Sudan and Eritrea emerged in this way).
• There have been exceptions where secession has taken place from a state which has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of much of the international community, including the UK (a number of new states emerged out of former Yugoslavia in this way).
For the UK to assist Somaliland to gain international recognition, a policy decision would need first to be taken that Somalia – or the idea of Somalia as a state – has lost its legitimacy. The UK would be highly unlikely to act alone, which means that this would have to become the view of the UK’s international allies and partners too. To take that position now would be to break ranks with the current US and collective EU positions on Somalia.
There are many in the international community who sympathise with Somaliland’s wish for independence, but they appear to be waiting for an African Union (AU) member state to take the lead.
Read the paper in PDF

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