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 governments.
Somaliland’s government declared autonomy from Somalia in 1991 but has not gained widespread international recognition for independence.
“Any dialogue that transpires between Somaliland and Somalia will not discuss unification, but rather how the two previously united countries can move forward separately,” Somaliland’s government said in a statement late on Sunday.
Somaliland, which has remained largely peaceful for over three decades while its neighbour has been convulsed by civil war, said it “has no plans for dialogue to discuss unity with Somalia.”
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 conflict 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, the de facto independent country cultivated an image as an “oasis of stability” in the Horn of Africa, conducting disarmaments and democratic elections despite lacking international recognition. However analysts say the conflict 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.