Somaliland President Says: Keating’s Letter is Disrespectful in Tone & Not Helpful At All

Office of the President

REF: RSL/OP/UN/257-149/62018                                                       Date:18/06/2018

H.E. António Guterres,
Secretary General of the United Nations,
United Nations – (UN)

Your Excellency,

Reference is made to the letter (attached) from the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia and Somaliland and the Head of UNSOM dated 10 June 2018. This letter is in response to our previous letter dated on 28 May, and addressed to the SG regarding the on-going conflict between Somalia and Somaliland in Tukaraq area.

I want to inform you, Mr. Secretary General that we are not happy with the Special Representative’s letter to us, which we find one-sided response, inaccurate as to the facts, disrespectful in tone, and not helpful at all. First, we already clearly indicated to the Special Representative that we fully accept the main three points he raised in his letter as desired to contain the conflict  –  cessation  of  hostilities,  full  access  to  humanitarian  assistance,establishment of communication between military commanders on the ground.  We shared with him when he visited us here on l 4th  of May, 20l 8. I want to assure you that we are ready to comply with them if the other side agrees and complies.

Second, he seems dismissive of all that Somaliland has achieved peace and stability, solid governance structures, and economic reconstruction and implies that we need to be engaged “in peace-building and state-building process.

It would be a mistake, as the Special Representative does, to imply that Somaliland is embanking on such a process

As you know, Mr. Secretary General, Somaliland has been at peace for 27 years wit itself and with all its neighbors, and has in fact been a bulwark against violence and terrorism in the region. It has established strong governance structures including multiple democratic elections, which were declared fair and free by international observers. It has also rebuilt its economy from the destruction brought about by the last military regime in Somalia (1988l-90). The last thing we want to do is to engage in another new cycle of violence and conflict. Unfortunately, the government of Somalia seems to now be determined (by proxy) to derail that progress and destabilize the region.

Mr. Secretary General, we have enjoyed good relations with all UN agencies delivering assistance to the people of Somaliland.  We hope that we can sustain those strong relations. We also hope that current representative, and any other future ones, does not do anything to weaken the peace and stability we worked so hard to achieve.

Regarding the conflict between Somalia and Somaliland in  the area of Tukaraq, I want to point out that Somaliland is 70 kilometres away from the border with Somalia. That border is the international boundary set in 1894 during the colonial era and further re-confirmed by the O.A.U. (now AU) resolution of 1964, which stipulated that colonial borders define the international boundaries that divide the independent countries in post-colonial Africa. Furthermore, we utterly concur with introducing a buffer zone between the troops along the internationally recognized colonial border between Somalia and Somaliland. At the same time, I hope the forces of Somalia refrain from instigating hostilities and subversive activities inside our borders.

Mr. Secretary General, we ask you to use your good offices to diffuse potentially tragic developments where the ultimate victims are the Somali people who suffered more than their fair share of suffering, and to do so in a fair and equitable manner. We will cooperate with any efforts in that regard and I assure you that we will not initiate any hostilities but will rightly defend ourselves if attacked inside our territory.


Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,




Muse Bihi Abdi
Republic of Somaliland

Hon.  Dr. Saad   Ali Shire, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Republic of Somaliland.



               United NationsNations Unies


Excellency,                                                                                                                       DATED: 10 June 2018

The Secretary-General has asked me to respond to your letter dated 28 May 2018 regarding the ongoing conflict in Tukaraq.

The Secretary-General is disappointed that, at a time when significant progress is being made in the peace-building and state-building princesses among Somalis, scarce and valuable military resources that should be employed to address insecurity are instead being used in a conflict that is causing immense suffering and loss of lives. He urges all parties to commit to the four-point proposal I have shared with you, including an immediate cessation of hostilities and implementation of ceasefire arrangements; establishment of communication channels between the military commanders on the ground, allowing full access to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected civilian population and the releasing of prisoners as a confidence building measure.

Regarding to the content of your letter which alludes to the status of “Somaliland”, the  Secretary-General wishes to advise that there are internationally established processes that should be followed by territories that aspire to achieve self-determination, recognition as a State by the international community and membership of the United Nations. The Secretary-General urges “Somaliland” to resume the stalled dialogue with Somalia in this regard.

The Secretary-General has instructed me to continue to work with all parties to end the conflict in Tukaraq and to facilitate the resumption of the Somalia-“Somaliland” dialogue.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Michael Keating

       Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of UNSOM

His Excellency
Mr. Muse Bibi Abdi
President of “Somaliland”

Images of original text in letters