Somaliland has strongly condemned Somalia’s recent entry into the East African Community (EAC), viewing it as an infringement on its sovereignty, according to a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This development comes as Somalia, following a decade-long effort initiated in 2012, joins the EAC, expanding the bloc’s market to over 300 million people.
“The Government of the Republic of Somaliland expresses its deep concern regarding the recent accession of Somalia to the East African Community (EAC) block,” the statement read, emphasizing that Somalia’s claim over Somaliland’s territory is unfounded and contradicts historical and legal facts. Despite declaring independence in 1991 and establishing its own government and democratic institutions, Somaliland remains unrecognized internationally, creating ongoing tensions.
Somaliland’s government is also calling for international recognition of its status. “We urge the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and EAC member states to recognize Somaliland’s distinct identity and sovereignty,” the statement from Hargeisa urged.
Somalia’s entry into the EAC, home to 17 million people, significantly expands the bloc’s market reach to over 300 million people. Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, present at the EAC summit in Tanzania, conveyed his optimism through his chief economic adviser, stating, “This moment is not just a culmination of our aspirations but a beacon of hope for a future full of possibilities and opportunities.”
However, this inclusion raises security concerns, notably due to Somalia’s ongoing conflict with the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab group. EAC members like Kenya and Uganda, contributing troops to an African Union force in Somalia, highlight the region’s intertwined security challenges.
Somaliland’s rejection of Somalia’s EAC membership underscores the unresolved issues of sovereignty and international recognition. As the EAC moves forward with its newest member, observers and stakeholders will closely monitor its impact on regional trade, security, and diplomatic relations, particularly in light of Somaliland’s unresolved status and its implications for regional politics.
Below is the statement from the Somaliland government:
The Government of the Republic of Somaliland expresses its deep concern regarding the recent accession of Somalia to the East African Community (EAC) block. We firmly believe that this decision is a clear violation of Somaliland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Somaliland, formerly the British Somaliland Protectorate, gained independence from the United Kingdom on June 26, 1960, predating Somalia’s independence by five days. On July 1, 1960, Somaliland voluntarily merged with Somalia, forming the Somali Republic. However, this union was marred by decades of brutal oppression and marginalization of the Somaliland people under the Somali Republic’s dictatorial regime of Mohamed Siad Barre.
In 1991, as the Somali central government collapsed, the people of Somaliland reclaimed their sovereignty and independence. On May 18, 1991, Somaliland declared its independence, a decision endorsed by all clan elders in a unanimous declaration. Since 1991, Somaliland has functioned as an independent and sovereign state, with its own democratically elected government, distinct currency, and effective control over its territory. We have established a stable and peaceful society, fostering economic development and social progress.
Somalia’s claim to Somaliland’s territory is unfounded and contradicts the historical and legal realities. Somaliland has never been part of Somalia since 1991, and Somalia has no right to represent Somaliland in any international or regional forum. We urge the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and EAC member states to recognize Somaliland’s distinct identity and sovereignty. Somalia’s accession to the EAC without Somaliland’s consent is a grave injustice and undermines the principles of international law.
The Republic of Somaliland is committed to peaceful and constructive engagement with the international community. We seek a just and equitable solution that recognizes our right to self-determination and our aspiration for international recognition. We sincerely hope that the AU, UN, and EAC member states uphold the aspirations of our people and their inherent right to self-determination.