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International Contact Group Applauds Somaliland, Pushes For More Development Assistance To Somaliland

Madrid, Spain, October 2, 2010 (SL Times) – The most recent meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) that took place in Madrid was something of a watershed for that group as far as Somaliland is concerned.

For the first time since the Group was established, it has praised Somaliland´ democratic achievements, calling it a model not just for Somalis but for all of Africa. The international Contact Group, or at least, influential countries within the Group, are now advocating for greater budgetary, infrastructure, and security assistance to Somaliland. When one adds the ICG´s positive statements toward Somaliland with the recent decision by the US government for more aggressive engagement with Somaliland, the inescapable conclusion is that the international community is finally beginning to appreciate the role Somaliland is playing in establishing peace, development and progress in a volatile part of the world.

Here is an excerpt from the ICG´s Madrid meeting as reported by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Delegates emphasized the need to support areas that have created relative peace and stability. The ICG applauded the successful election held in Somaliland and underlined the need to increase support to enable the people of Somaliland to sustain their relative peace and stability and their democratic progress. Somaliland was also the subject of a sideline meeting called by the UK and Norway on Tuesday.

This commended the peaceful transfer of power after the election, and emphasized the need to provide the necessary support to ensure continuity of democratization, in terms of direct budgetary support and capacity building, in security issues and to encourage the new administration in its reform agenda.

There was agreement on the need to assist in enhancing infrastructure, including the Berbera corridor, as well as building up social services, including, for example, Hargeysa´s water supply. Partners agreed to create a coordination framework for helping the administration immediately.

Somaliland had set an example to all Somalis, and indeed to Africa in general, in democratization; and it had also played a major role in regional security. While its new administration hasn´t abandoned the issue of recognition, it also attaches great importance to development cooperation and to having close working relationships with partners. The sense of the meeting was that as much as possible should be done to assist its progress short of recognition.

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