Somaliland’s severe poverty and lack of progress on recognition threaten to undermine its democracy – President Bihi

Somaliland President, Muse Bihi Abdi

Washington (SLpost)- Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi spent the past week in Washington making the case that the U.S. should become the first country to recognize Somaliland independence.

Somaliland President, Muse Bihi Abdi

The president leaving with some positive signals to show for it says that for the sake of international diplomacy, he knows that the US is not going to recognize Somaliland, but “We are working on how to deepen engagement between the two governments”.

“We survived the last 33 years with our own efforts,” said president Bihi who argued that Somaliland’s severe poverty and lack of progress on recognition threaten to undermine its democracy.

“Every country we meet for the past 30 years, they have the same answer for us, but someday we will find the first country,” says the president in an interview by Axio, US-based News outlet. Muse Bihi highlighted that the US does not want to be the first country to recognize Somaliland.

President Muse Bixi along with his foreign minister met with US Lawmakers and officials in Biden administration who both signaled importance for deepening US-Somaliland ties.

The President’s visit to Washington sheds light on the more active role Congress is playing in pushing the Biden administration to rethink traditional U.S. policy in East Africa and the careful balancing act the State Department is attempting as it responds to growing calls to engage Somaliland, writes by Foreign Policy.

Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Mike Rounds, the chair and ranking member respectively of the panel’s Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, introduced a bill formalizing that effort during the Somaliland delegation’s visit to Washington.

The bill includes a provision that would require the State Department to report to Congress annually about the status of U.S. aid and actions in Somaliland for the next five years.

Also this week, House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced a bill to recognize Somaliland’s independence.

“Even if it takes 100 years for recognition, we will still stand for our identity, we’ll still engage with everybody, and we’ll still dream of a day where Somaliland is recognized as its own country,” says Somaliland foreign Minister Dr Essa Keyd speaking to Foreign policy.