Saturday, June 21, 2003

Ministerial Committee to review Somaliland Mogadishu-based livestock board
HARGEISA, 22 JUNE 2003 (Jamhuriya)--H.E. Ahmed Haji Dahir Elmi, Somaliland Minister of Planning, and a member of a newly designated Ministerial ‘Committee’ to review the proposed formation of a Mogadishu-based Somali Livestock Board, Somaliland included, which is jointly spearheaded by the UNDP, FAO and the World Bank, said, Tuesday, that the government categorically rejected any proposal that lumped Somaliland and Somalia together in what was clearly a “Somalia package” as if the two countries were still a single political entity as in earlier years.

“The government of Somaliland principally welcomes any initiative that aims to improve either the economy or living standards of our people, but, on the other hand”, the Minister said “any move that does not take Somaliland sovereignty into account is primarily suspect, and ought to be approached with caution”.

The government of Somaliland, the Minister said, communicated its view of a Mogadishu-based SLB to emissaries from the 3 UN organizations, who have held talks on matter with the government of Somaliland in the recent past.

“This latest initiative is product of a meeting some members of a so-called Somalia business community held and concluded in Dubai, UAE; last April. Neither this meeting nor the formation of Mogadishu-based Livestock Board it resolved had given the least consideration to the case of Somaliland or the kind of respect due the Somaliland Livestock Board or the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Livestock, which solely hold jurisdiction over issues relating to Somaliland Livestock”, Minister Elmi said.

The government, he said, put together a ministerial commission to review all the pros and cons of the proposed initiative. The commission would, he added, present its views to the cabinet soon.

One of the major stumbling blocks to a joint Somalia/Somaliland Livestock board is – apart from its outward, political ramifications – a track record that has already taken it to the Somalia peace talks of Nairobi, where a delegation representing the new Somali Livestock Board committed it to unconditional “support” of “all-inclusive government”.

Leading that delegation, according to a May 27 IRIN report, was Mohamed Jirdeh Hussayn – a Somaliland-born businessman, based in Mogadishu. Mr. Jirdeh, the report said, was an Executive member of a Dubai-based ‘Somali Business Council’, at the time of the Kenya visit. According to other reliable sources, Mr. Jirdeh and his council subsequently shed old skin for the newer Livestock Board one, which he now chaired.

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