The presidents of Somalia, Mohamed Farmaajo, and Somaliland’s Muse Bihi Abdi are expected to meet in Djibouti this week under the invitation of Djibouti leader Ismail Guelleh.
Sources also indicate representatives from the African Union, the European Union, the US and Ethiopia are expected to attend.
While the agenda of the meeting is not clear, sources quoted by VOA journalist Harun Maruf indicate the two main topics of discussion will be to build confidence between the two sides and start a process that can lead to a negotiated settlement.
Also, with the election for the non-permanent UNSC members happening on June 17, the candidature of Djibouti could be on the table.
Although Kenya is the candidate endorsed by the AU, Djibouti has contested the endorsement and has instead on remaining in the race.
Farmaajo and Abdi earlier met in Addis Ababa on February 11 his year. Two days later, Maruf says, President Farmaajo apologised for atrocities committed in Somaliland under previous governments.
“Nation needs to correct a dark chapter and apologise to our brothers who were killed, maimed in the north,” Farmaajo said.
Maruf notes that a proposed follow up visit to Somaliland by PM Abiy and President Farmaajo in February was postponed after a strong opposition from sectors of Somaliland political leadership.
“If the summit takes place it will be historic event. In a matter of days, Somalia and Somaliland will mark the 60th anniversary of independence from the British and Italian colonies,” Haruf says.
He poses pertinent questions: After 60 years, where will things go from here?
For almost 30 years Somalia insisted unity of the country is sacred. Likewise, Somaliland insisted decision to secede is sacred, non-negotiable. What could be an amicable outcome which can satisfy the two opposite positions?
Why now? The leaders of Somalia and Somaliland have met before – Sheikh Sharif Ahmed met Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo; and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.
“Key development in this case is the external factor, i.e. pressure from high profile influential actors,” Maruf quotes sources.
Journalist Abdishakur Mohamed says the mediation of both sides is very important because they failed to agree to be reunited or allowed referendum from the public.
He however says Farmaajo takes blame because he has failed to collaborate with federal states, ad he is in the last days of his term.
Somalia politician Halane Abdulkadir says Ethiopia is always working with Somalia In pursuit of her political interests.
“I welcome any dialogue between us but no foreign intervention,” Abdulkadir says.