Somaliland shuns Turkey as venue for talks with Somalia

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HARGEISA (HMC)

Saad ali Shire

Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saad ali Shire

The breakaway northern Somalia region of Somaliland says it seeks a ‘neutral’ venue for its talks with Somalia rather than Turkey which sponsored previous rounds of talks for the two sides, minster said Sunday

The talks have collapsed in March after the two sides accused each other of holding a firm ground which complicated mediations by the Turkish government which encouraged the two sides to make concessions.

Saad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s foreign minister says that Somaliland would welcome holding more talks with Somalia; however, he dismissed the likelihood of attending the talks in Turkey.

“Turkey is the one which hosted the previous talks, now; we want to see the venue changed to another country other than turkey.” Mr. Shire said in an interview with the BBC Somali Service.

He didn’t specify the reason behind the region objection to attend the talks in Turkey.

No comment could be reached from Somali government on the development. It’s also unclear if there’s another country which is willing to host the talks.

Turkey is a major ally for Somalia has it became the first foreign administrations to resume formal diplomatic relations with Somalia after the civil war. The Turkish government also continues to undertake major projects in Somalia in a bid to jump-start the Somali economy shattered by the decades old conflict.

Somaliland which declared a unilateral independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 has been seeking an international recognition, however, their efforts haven’t so far proved successful.

Somalia wants to convince Somaliland to reunite with Somalia, an approach long dismissed by Somaliland.