UK Parliament Debates on Somaliland Recognition

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The British Parliament yesterday debated on a motion on the recognition of the Republic of Somaliland. The motion was tabled by former UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson who has served as Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire since 2010.

The debate lasted for more than an hour, with lawmakers debating the issue of Somaliland and how the UK government should deal with it. 

Williamson briefed parliament on Somaliland’s progress in security and democracy, citing a number of reasons why he wanted the UK to recognize Somaliland which left most MPs present quite impressed. He added that the facts should not be ignored and that it would not take long for the British government to secure Somaliland’s recognition. “As politicians, and as this House, we must show leadership on this issue. We must show our friends in Somaliland that we are willing to defend them as they have defended us,” said Williamson. 

Similarly, Kerry McCarthy, one of the lawmakers who took part in the debate, said that Somaliland has made great strides and has shown its ability to build an independent state and it is time to recognize it as such. “If we do not do that, we will find ourselves here in another 10 years’ time as Somaliland celebrates its 40th anniversary of de facto independence without being recognized,” said McCarthy. 

The UK Minister for European Affairs Chris Heaton-Harris, who was speaking on behalf of the government at the House of Commons, was asked about the government’s stance on Somaliland.

Harris’s response was, “The UK Government’s position on the matter has been consistent. It was consistent at the time that he was in government and it remains the same. We have long encouraged dialogue between the authorities in Mogadishu and Hargeisa on the future relationship, and we continue to do so.” This was further reiterated by Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, who spoke about the recognition of Somaliland and said that the UK’s position was clear and that it was up to the federal government and Somaliland to discuss their future.