June 09, 2022

Risch, Van Hollen, Rounds Applaud Committee Passage of Somaliland Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, today applauded committee passage of their Somaliland Partnership Act, legislation requiring the Department of State to report to Congress on engagement with Somaliland, and to conduct a feasibility study, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, regarding the establishment of a partnership between the United States and Somaliland.

“As the Horn of Africa faces a number of complex challenges, the United States should explore all possible mutually-beneficial relationships with stable and democratic partners, including Somaliland,” said Risch. “This legislation requires the administration to review outdated policies and diplomatic frameworks that don’t meet today’s challenges, and to review opportunities for establishing a partnership between the United States and Somaliland. I look forward to engaging with the State Department on this issue in the months ahead.”

“Enhancing our cooperation with those on the Horn of Africa that are committed to making progress on democratic governance and fundamental freedoms is key to advancing U.S. interests and improving stability, especially as this region continues to face increasingly destabilizing currents. That’s why we’re working to strengthen opportunities for the U.S. to engage with Somaliland. Our bill will help ensure the United States explores the greater possibilities of this mutually-beneficial relationship, and I’m glad to see today’s strong show of support from our colleagues on the Committee,” said Van Hollen.

“Somaliland has charted an impressive trajectory over the past several decades, and this legislation acknowledges that,” said Rounds. “Somaliland’s stability, democratic values and shared interests provide a secure foundation upon which to build a mutually beneficial partnership across a number of fronts.”

Background:

The Republic of Somaliland received independence from the United Kingdom on June 26, 1960, prior to the creation of the Somali Republic, and has been a self-declared independent and sovereign state since 1991 that is not internationally recognized. Somaliland exists as a semi-autonomous region of the Federal Republic of Somalia. A delegation from Somaliland, led by President Musa Bihi Abdi, visited Washington in March to meet with Congress, Biden Administration officials, and the private sector.

The Somaliland Partnership Act (S.3861) was introduced on March 17, 2022. Text of this legislation as introduced can be found here.

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