US: We are engaging Somaliland within framework of our single Somalia policy
WASHINGTON - The US will continue engaging Somaliland within the framework of her single policy on Somalia, Molly Phee, the Assistant Secretary of State said, moments after meeting visiting Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi.
Abdi is leading a delegation of ministers to the US where he's is set to meet other top officials. Bihi is said to be targeting the US for recognition of Somaliland.
But in a statement, Molly Phee was quick to make it clear that the US will engage Somaliland as part of the federal state of Somalia and not as an independent entity or a secessionist state of the Horn of Africa nation.
"Welcomed the opportunity to meet Musa Biihi today and discuss strengthening U.S. engagement with Somaliland within the framework of our single Somalia policy," she said in a tweet, Monday.
In his address to the Heritage Foundation which is part of the teams which organized the trip, Bihi said Somaliland will not accept a union with Somalia.
Somaliland claimed it seceded from Somalia in 1991 after the former central government was overthrown by warlords. Since then, the region has been seeking international recognization, which it failed to gain for 30 years.
In an exclusive interview with The Garowe Online, US ambassador to Somalia Larry Andre confirmed that the US was still treating Somaliland as part of Somalia. The region has been pushing for nationhood in recent years.
"We respect the achievements of the Somaliland region in terms of democratic space, economic development, and security. We work on shared goals with Somaliland authorities just like other Somalia's Federal states," he noted.
Somaliland located in northern Somalia is ruled by one clan for 31 years.