“President Bihi’s U.S. tour has brought great pride and hope to Somaliland and its supporters “ – Press Release

Somaliland President, Muse Bihi, addressing at Heritage Foundation @Heritage

Below is a press release issued by the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation about president Muse Bihi’s official visit to the United States.

‘At a moment when the fundamental norms of the current liberal international order have been put to the test, the recent visit of a delegation led by the President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi, to the United States of America, stands as a testament to the power of democratic values to continue to shape global foreign policy and multilateral cooperation. This visit, the first official invitation of a Somaliland head of state by the U.S. government, is a culmination of three decades of deepening relations between the two countries, and following from the recent fact-finding mission of U.S. congressional staff to Somaliland in December 2021.

During their visit to the U.S., the delegation made up of Somaliland ministers, government officials, businessmen, and academicians, held official meetings with Biden administration officials, members of congress, UN senior officials, U.S. financial institutions, think tanks, civil society leaders and academic institutions to discuss ways to strengthen US-Somaliland engagement.

The overriding message of the Somaliland president over the course of this tour was clear, as articulated in a keynote speech hosted by the storied American think-tank, the Heritage Foundation: “In a difficult neighborhood, Somaliland’s stability and reliability is increasingly recognized as an asset for advancing the interests of countries who share the same values”. Similar messages were relayed during the delegation’s tireless engagement with top U.S. government officials, including those from the U.S State Department, the U.S. National Security Council, and the U.S. Department of Defense, in which the foundations of a Somaliland-US partnership on security cooperation, counter-terrorism, economic development, and good governance were explored.

While in Washington D.C., President Bihi used the opportunity to speak at George Washington University’s prestigious Institute of African Studies, to discuss Somaliland’s political and economic progress. To advance such progress going forward, the delegation met with officials from the World Bank, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy to discuss areas of cooperation and support.

The delegation also used the occasion to meet with Somaliland’s vibrant American diaspora community, taking advantage of linkages between groups such as the Somaliland Professionals Association of America (SLPA) and international champions of the Somaliland cause, including Tibor Nagy, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, to promote Somaliland’s case for recognition to a US audience.

Overall, President Bihi’s groundbreaking official U.S. tour has brought great pride and hope to Somaliland and its supporters. Upon the President’s return on 26 March, throngs of men, women, and children gathered on the streets of Somaliland to celebrate the increased recognition of Somaliland’s achievements on an international stage.

As Somaliland’s democratically elected leader put it in a speech marking his return: “My fellow Somalilanders…I am proud to share that today marks the start of a new partnership with the United States of America”, while pointing to the practical upshots of this new partnership: two pieces of legislation currently under review by the U.S. Congress, one calling for the recognition of Somaliland, the other calling for the formal establishment of a US-Somaliland partnership. Going forward, the Somaliland Government will seek to cement these successes by advocating for the successful passage of such legislation, while continuing to engage with the U.S. and its allies on areas of mutual concern.