International partners joint statement on the situation in Laascaanood and Somaliland elections

Joint Statement by International Partners on the situation in Laascaanood and Somaliland elections following a joint call with H.E. the President of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, on 15 April 2023

A group of 15 International Partners (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Tรผrkiye, United Kingdom, and the United States of America) held a joint call with H.E. the President of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, to discuss the armed conflict in Laascaanood and its severe effects on the population, while we also raised concern about the delayed elections in Somaliland. Partners noted that the worrying situation is seriously impacting discussions about their engagement with Somaliland.

Partners emphasized serious concern about the continued violence and conflict in Laascaanood, which is now in its tenth week. Partners expressed the hope that the security and well-being of the population would be put at the centre of all political decisions and stressed that there must be an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities and separation of forces to agreed locations. We reiterated the importance of ensuring humanitarian access and delivery of assistance to those in need. Similar messages have been passed to other parties of the conflict from the Partners.

The main parties to the conflict have repeatedly and publicly committed to a ceasefire and dialogue, but they have not yet implemented these commitments. Partners called for flexibility and a willingness to compromise to allow space for dialogue. We offered our support to identifying paths towards sustainable peace, including assisting to facilitate such dialogue. Partners welcomed the efforts and initiatives by local and regional actors to secure a ceasefire and facilitate a dialogue.

Partners also stressed the importance of urgent progress on elections in Somaliland. We invited H.E. the President to publish a roadmap for elections and clarify the sequencing and timing of elections to allow for technical preparations. Tangible steps are needed to ensure elections can take place as soon as possible.

Partners appreciated H.E. the Presidentโ€™s repeated assurances that he is willing to pursue peace and dialogue. We also took note of H.E. the Presidentโ€™s assurances to allow for unhindered humanitarian access to Laascaanood. We hope that these commitments will be put into practice. Partners were disappointed that H.E. the President did not commit to a withdrawal of Somaliland forces centered around Laascaanood.