KAHIN TRIP SET TO STRENGTHEN SOMALILAND-DJIBOUTI RELATIONS
NAIROBI, 15 October (IRIN)
Relations between Djibouti and the
self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, are set to
improve following a three-day visit to Djibouti by the Somaliland
president, Dahir Riyale Kahin.
Abdillahi Muhammad Duale, Somaliland's Information Minister, told IRIN on
Wednesday that the "Riyale administration has been extremely busy
strengthening relations with neighbouring states, and this trip is part of
Kahin, who is accompanied by four cabinet ministers and a number of
members of parliament, is in Djibouti "at the invitation of the
government", Duale added.
Meanwhile, a Djibouti official told IRIN the two sides discussed bilateral
issues particularly, economic cooperation. "We discussed ways of improving
trade ties and exploring areas of further cooperation," he noted.
The sides also discussed "how best to bring closer the two brotherly
peoples", added the official. A more comprehensive meeting is scheduled to
take place on Thursday, after which a statement will be issued.
Kahin's trip to Djibouti is his second since he assumed the Somaliland
presidency in May 2002 after the death of Muhammad Ibrahim Egal.
Relations between the two sides soured following Djibouti's hosting of the
Somali peace talks, which led to the establishment of the Transitional
National Government (TNG), and Djibouti's continued support for it.
The Somaliland administration boycotted the Arta talks, accusing Djibouti
of interfering in Somalia's internal affairs.
However, a regional analyst told IRIN on Wednesday that Djibouti "will
most likely continue to support the TNG and Somali unity in general, and
will not compromise on this".
The people on both sides of the border were one and the same, he said, so
they "had to take advantage of this kind of opportunity to eventually
solve their differences and find areas of common understanding".