A joint technical ministerial committee from both sides of the aisle in Djibouti have agreed that non-political social engagements between Somalia and Somaliland will not be subject to any sanctions. For artists, academics and traders who have in the past suffered from political differences between Hargeisa and Mogadishu, the move is being heralded as a major step forward for cultural relations.
A communique from the committee Monday observed that cultural, academic, sports and trade activities would not be subject to prohibition from authorities.
“The two sides also agreed not to impede non-political social engagement (cultural, academic, sports and trade) to promote peace and dialogues between Somalia and Somaliland,” the communique read in part.
The agreement is a reprieve, especially for music artists from Somaliland who have in the past been arrested and reprimanded for performing in Mogadishu. Journalists working in Mogadishu have also been detained in the past upon return to Somaliland.
The committee also reiterated earlier remarks which appeared in a communique following the meeting attended by Presidents Mohamed Farmaajo and Muse Bihi on the need to avoid politicization of humanitarian assistance and development aid.
The Djibouti, Ethiopian, and U.S. government along with smaller diplomatic players arranged for the two sides to meet at a consultative summit in Djibouti on June 14.
Three sub-committees on co-management of Somaliland airspace, aid and security are expected to meet in Djibouti in a fortnight ‘to start working on the way forward and the implementation of what was agreed upon.
The Joint Ministerial Committee will resume within 45 days, the communique added.