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Somaliland holds back secession talks with Somalia amid Berbera port row

Storyline:National News
Somaliland Foreign Affairs minister Sa’ad Shire said Saturday talks will be put on hold until a later date. File Photo: online

Preparations for talks between Somaliland and the Federal Government will be delayed for a month, Somaliland foreign minister Sa’ad Shire has said without citing reasons even as the two parties trade accusations over the Berbera port deal.

Addressing the media in Hargeisa Saturday, Shire said Somaliland will revisit the preparations later noting, ‘circumstances at the moment don’t allow negotiations to start’.

“Our negotiations with Somalia have been approved by Parliament but not completed,” said Shire. “At this time, circumstances do not allow us to negotiate with Somalia; we will rest for a month then we can look at it again.”

Shire’s remarks followed President Mohamed Farmaajo’s assurance Saturday that the talks will go on unhindered as he lashed out at ‘foreign countries and companies’ bent on breaching the sovereignty of the country through illegal contracts’.

“We will soon begin negotiations with Somaliland,” Farmaajo said. “Somali people are brothers and we will solve any conflict through dialogue.”

“I am warning countries and companies against crossing the limit to interfere with the sovereignty of and unity of Somalia,” said Farmaajo.

Talks between the two sides over the secession issue are scheduled to resume this year but the dates and venue are yet to be made public. Talks between the two in Turkey 2015 collapsed as both sides traded accusations over venue and composition of delegates.

Somaliland has maintained it will go it alone over the Berbera port deal but Mogadishu has since dismissed the agreement as null and void.