The Leader of Birmingham City Council lead a cross-party representation as delegates of Somaliland were present to witness the signing of a joint letter to unilaterally declare independence from Somalia.
The three main political party leaders; Council Leader, Councillor Ian Ward (Labour), Cllr Robert Alden (Conservatives) and the Council’s Lib Dem leader, Cllr Jon Hunt, were joined by Ayan Mahamoud, Resident Representative of the Republic of Somaliland to the UK & Commonwealth, as they signed a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt – as they urged the UK government to recognise Somaliland as an independent country – and be officially recognised as the Republic of Somaliland.
The central government maintains informal ties with some foreign governments, including the UK, and calls are growing for Somaliland to be recognised as a sovereign state. The east African country was unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in May 1991 and has since been governed by democratically elected governments that seeks international recognition as the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
The central government maintains informal ties with some foreign governments, including the UK, and calls are growing for Somaliland to be recognised as a sovereign state.
Cllr Ward said: “Somaliland is a beacon of peace and stability in the ‘Horn of Africa’ and we have jointly signed this letter to urge Prime Minister May to officially recognise Somaliland as an independent state.
“Standing together as one, Birmingham is built by the multicultural community that has always represented the city.
“Somaliland”, he went on to say, “has been independent for 28 years. The time now is right for support from the international community”.
Leader of the Conservative Group on the Council, Cllr Robert Alden, added: “On behalf of the Conservatives I am absolutely delighted to support this letter, whilst leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, John Hurt, said: “Somaliland has long proved to be free and democratic – a real ‘beacon’ of equality and unity”.
“Thank you, Birmingham, for fully recognising Somaliland”, Ayan Mahamoud said. “This truly is a great day.
“For Birmingham to officially recognise the Republic of Somaliland is massive”.
“And a very special ‘Thank You’ also goes out to Keith Stokes-Smith, President of the Birmingham Commonwealth Association.
“I am proud that they, and the wider, colourful community of the Birmingham took the brave step of supporting an independent Somaliland.
“Birmingham, for one, is very special to us”.
She added: “A very special ‘Thank You’ goes out to Counill Leader Ward. He didn’t have to do this for us, but he did. That was a truly brave step by him”
The City Council’s Monitoring Officer, Cllr Diane Donaldson, further adding: “On this historic journey to independence and democracy, I am deeply proud that Birmingham has supported this significant achievement”.
Somaliland declared independence from the Somali Republic in 1991 following a long-running war with the Mogadishu-based national government. It has, however, never been recognised by the United Nations or Africa Union, despite an ongoing campaign by its politicians, diplomats and prominent citizens.